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Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) – Update

Press Release – Ministry of Health

Overall influenza H1N1 activity continues to decrease below baseline levels. While some cases and clusters of influenza are likely to continue, this is much less frequent now and at a national level we are nearing the end of the second wave of pandemic …Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) – Update 210

Overall influenza H1N1 activity continues to decrease below baseline levels. While some cases and clusters of influenza are likely to continue, this is much less frequent now and at a national level we are nearing the end of the second wave of pandemic influenza H1N1 in New Zealand. The Ministry’s weekly updates will end next week.

There have been 724 hospitalisations of laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 so far this year. This includes 4 hospitalisations in the past week confirmed with H1N1 (as well as updated figures for the year to date). These figures do not include influenza-like illness among people admitted to hospital without a positive H1N1 laboratory test result. Intensive Care Units have seen much less H1N1 admissions in recent weeks and are no longer routinely reporting cases in their care.

There have been a further two deaths linked to swine flu reported, bringing the total this year to 20; of these 15 have been confirmed as being due to swine flu. Details of these most recent deaths are reported on the Auckland and Counties Manukau DHB websites.

It’s still important to seek medical advice early, particularly for people with underlying medical conditions or who are severely overweight or pregnant as they are at greater risk of a more severe illness. If you have flu-like symptoms, phoning your GP first before you go in can help them manage your care and prevent spread to others. For health advice, call Healthline on 0800 611 116. Stay home if you are unwell.

*A weekly rate of <50 ILI consultations per 100,000 patient population is considered baseline activity. A rate of 50-249 is considered indicative of normal seasonal influenza activity, and a rate of 250-399 indicative of higher than expected influenza activity. A rate of >400 ILI consultations per 100,000 patient population indicates an epidemic level of influenza activity.

Protecting yourself and others For some people, influenza can be a very serious illness. The main measures to protect yourself and others are: Know the symptoms of influenza, which can include a high fever, headache, cough, sore throat, tiredness and generally aching all over. Phone for medical advice quickly (call your GP or Healthline on 0800 611 116) if you have influenza-like symptoms, including consideration of whether you need antiviral medicine treatment. Antiviral medication may lessen the severity and length of your illness, but is best started within the first 48 hours. Antiviral medication is currently available free of charge for people who are prescribed it for influenza treatment. Seeking early medical advice is especially important for women who are pregnant, severely overweight people and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart and lung disease and other conditions including autoimmune diseases. Wash and dry hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home if you are sick.

International situation Since the 10 August 2010 announcement by WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan that the H1N1influenza event has moved into the post-pandemic period, the global influenza situation update is now published only every two weeks. The last update from 10 September 2010 is available on: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/2010_09_10_GIP_surveillance/en/index.html.

Influenza activity is still being reported globally, in particular in Chile, India, Thailand, China and South Africa. There has been a recent increase in influenza-like activity in some Pacific Islands, including American Samoa, FSM, Fiji and Samoa. Australia continues to report increasing influenza-like activity in the community however levels are lower than previous influenza seasons.
ENDS

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