View Full Version : New Zealand Swine Flu April 26th +
04-26-2009, 03:52 AM
New Zealand quarantines 25 amid flu alert
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Twenty-five students and teachers in New Zealand, some with flu-like symptoms, were quarantined and tested for swine flu after returning from a trip to Mexico, officials said Sunday, as Asia stepped up surveillance for the deadly virus.
The group from New Zealand's largest high school returned to the northern city of Auckland on Saturday on a flight from Los Angeles. Thirteen students and one teacher were unwell and one student had to be hospitalized, said Auckland Regional Public Health Services director Dr. Julia Peters.
Health Ministry spokesman Michael Flyger said some had symptoms of an influenza-like illness and the test results were expected later Sunday.
At this stage other passengers on the flight were not being sought and the next step would depend on what the tests showed, he said.
Schools, museums, libraries closed
Mexico has closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in a bid to contain the outbreak, which may have sickened about 1,000 people there.
Some of those who died are confirmed to have a unique version of the A/H1N1 flu virus that is a combination of bird, pig and human viruses, WHO said.
U.S. authorities said 11 people were infected with swine flu, and all recovered or are recovering and at least two were hospitalized.
"It would be prudent for health officials within countries to be alert to outbreaks of influenza-like illness or pneumonia, especially if these occur in months outside the usual peak influenza season," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in Geneva on Saturday.
"Another important signal is excess cases of severe or fatal flu-like illness in groups other than young children and the elderly, who are usually at highest risk during normal seasonal flu," she said, adding, "the situation is evolving quickly."
Concern throughout Asia
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's biggest international airport stepped up health surveillance, while the Philippines said it may quarantine passengers with fevers who have been to Mexico. Health authorities in Thailand and Hong Kong said they were closely monitoring the situation.
China said anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms within two weeks of arriving in the country from swine-flu affected territories was required to report to authorities.
Australia's Department of Health and Aging urged anyone who had returned from Mexico with influenza-like symptoms since March to seek advice from their doctors.
Malaysia and other Asian nations said they were awaiting further advice from WHO.
At Tokyo's Narita airport — among the world's busiest with more than 96,000 people using it daily — officials installed a device at the arrival gate for flights from Mexico to measure the temperatures of passengers.
A Health Ministry official said the government will monitor conditions of people returning from Mexico with their consent.
Agriculture Minister Shigeru Ishiba appeared on TV to calm consumers, saying it was safe to eat pork.
"Whether it's domestic or imported pork, pork is sanitized when being shipped" to supermarkets, Ishiba told TV Asahi. "It's perfectly safe to eat pork."
Asia has grappled in recent years with the H5N1 bird flu virus, which has killed at least 257 people worldwide since late 2003, according to WHO. Nearly 45 percent of the global bird flu deaths have occurred in Indonesia, with 115 fatalities.
Scientists have warned for years about the potential for a pandemic caused by viruses that mix genetic material from humans and animals.
No vaccine specifically protects against swine flu, and it is unclear how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer.
04-26-2009, 03:56 AM
Also posted by Leistb in the Lookout Tower post 173:
04-26-2009, 06:47 AM
New Zealand pupils likely to have swine flu
26 Apr 2009 09:20:34 GMT
WELLINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) - Ten New Zealand school pupils just returned from Mexico are likely to have contracted swine flu, officials said on Sunday.
The infected pupils were part of a group of 25 teachers and students from a secondary school in the country's biggest city, Auckland, who had been tested after showing influenza-like symptoms a day after returning from three weeks in Mexico.
"Ministry of Health officials advise me there is no guarantee these students have swine influenza, but they consider it likely," Health Minister Tony Ryall said in a statement.
"However, I am also informed none of the affected patients are considered seriously ill, and most in fact seem to be on the road to recovery."
The 10 students had tested positive for Influenza A, and their results would be sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Australia to ascertain whether it was the H1N1 swine influenza, Ryall said.
The affected students were being treated with the drug Tamiflu and stocks have been released to cope with any further cases.
Students from a second Auckland school were also reported by local media to have just returned from a trip to Mexico, but had shown no flu symptoms.
The deadly swine flu strain has killed up to 81 people in Mexico and infections have also been found in the United States.
New Zealand has activated its national pandemic disease plan, with increased checks of incoming international flights. (Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Alex Richardson)
04-26-2009, 09:13 AM
Akld students test positive for Influenza A
It has been confirmed that ten of the party of students and teachers from Auckland's Rangitoto College who returned from a school trip to Mexico on Saturday with flu-like symptoms, have tested positive for Influenza A.
The Ministry of Health's Chief Adviser on population health, Dr Greg Simmons says that the test results show that it is not certain that they have Swine Flu and that further tests will be required.
However, Influenza A can be an indicator of the Swine Influenza.
He says the students are recovering and are being treated, however are still being kept in isolation
Health Minister Tony Ryall, during a press conference in Wellington on Sunday night, says the government is taking the situation very seriously.
"Ministry of Health officials advise me there is no guarantee these students have swine influenza, but they consider it likely," he says.
"All precautions are being taken to allow for this. However, I am also informed none of the affected patients are considered seriously ill, and most in fact seem to be on the road to recovery."
The Health Ministry has released some of its stockpile of the prescription flu drug Tamiful kept since the birdflu epidemic in 2005, which the students have been given.
The three teachers and 22 senior students have been in isolation following their return on Saturday from a three week language trip to Mexico.
Rangitoto College principal David Hodge says the students, aged from 15-18 in years 11-13, had spent most of their time in Mexico City on the Spanish language trip.
Thirteen of the eight boys and 14 girls and one of the three female teachers from the school's languages department had showed some flu like symptoms such as body aches and coughing, he says.
04-29-2009, 05:07 AM
NZ announces more likely swine flu cases
New Zealand has announced three more likely swine flu cases, taking the country's total of probable and confirmed infections to 14.
Officials said another 31 suspected cases were being investigated and 179 people were in isolation.
With international concern mounting over how to contain the outbreak, New Zealand's health ministry said all three new cases were people who had travelled to Mexico or North America recently.
"Because of their travel history... we need to assume that this is swine flu," said Julia Peters of the The Auckland Regional Public Health Service.
All 14 people have contracted influenza A - the virus that causes swine flu. Three of the 14 were confirmed to have the disease on Tuesday evening, while the remaining cases are thought to be probable swine flu infections.
So far the only deaths from swine flu have been recorded in Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, where more than 150 people are believed to have died from the virus.
Officials said the three new cases included two people who were not part of the New Zealand high school group that had recently visited Mexico and that accounted for the country's initial cases.
04-30-2009, 01:20 AM
ESR scientists have begun testing swine flu samples in New Zealand as suspected cases rise and officials remind Kiwis they can only buy Tamiflu over the counter if they are unwell.
Specialist scientists have been co-opted to assist with the testing process at ESR's National Influenza Centre, a statement said today. "Now the swine flu has been confirmed in New Zealand and the molecular structure of the virus has been identified, ESR's WHO National Influenza Centre can perform the testing."
Meanwhile at a press conference this morning health officials said that while Tamiflu could be purchased over the counter from tomorrow, patients needed to be exhibiting symptoms before they would be sold the anti-viral medication.
"[Buyers] need to be in the early stages of Influenza," Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Fran McGrath said.
"If they're not in the early stages then they need to see their doctor for a prescription."
Meanwhile more test results are expected this afternoon from patients suspected of having swine flu. The tests will confirm whether they have Influenza A and once this is established more complicated tests will be carried out for swine flu. All suspected patients are however being treated as if they have swine flu and are being isolated for 72 hours and given a course of Tamiflu.
Meanwhile the number of suspected cases of swine flu in New Zealand has grown to 104 as the World Health Organisation this morning raised the pandemic threat level from swine flu to phase 5.
Included in the isolation tally is Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn. He is under quarantine at home today - one day before a scheduled meeting with Prime Minister John Key.
Mr Kokshoorn and his family flew home from a holiday in Hawaii and North America a day before the "swine flu flight" that carried the flu strain to New Zealand.
A family member was now taking Tamiflu as a precaution and being tested for influenza A after becoming sick five days later, Mr Kokshoorn said today. "[But] I want to stress - I haven't got the flu. I've never been better."
Health officials also moved today to establish a "community-based assessment centre", most likely at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.
Officials said this morning there was still 13 probable cases of swine flu, with three confirmed by the WHO's Melbourne testing centre. But suspected cases had increased to 104.
"The growth in suspect numbers is primarily from close family contacts from passengers on flights," Health Minister Tony Ryall told a press conference today.
Numbers in isolation have also likely increased, with health officials now dealing with 101 cases. "[But] you can assume that many of them will have two, or three or more family members," Mr Ryall said.
There are 72 isolation cases in Auckland, 16 in Wellington, eight in Nelson, seven in Wanganui. Several other regions also have two, or fewer, cases.
NEW ZEALAND RESPONSE
Director General of Public Health Stephen McKernan said a community assessment facility would likely be established at Middlemore, so clinical assessments for swine flu could be conducted away from the airport.
Treatment could also be given and patients could be put in isolation in the unit.
It is possible other similar centres will be established in other parts of the country if the flu spreads, he said.
Mr Ryall said New Zealand had moved to a phase 5.1 in its plan but "this is not an escalation in New Zealand's epidemic planning."
Officials were still working to "contain and mitigate" swine flu, he said.
Mr Ryall said 32 countries had now notified WHO of suspected or confirmed cases of swine flu.
"As you know we are working hard to identify people potentially with swine flu so we can provide them with treatment and support and limit the spread of the flu."
The Health Ministry said at least 10,000 people arrived here from North America each week and all were subject to screening.
Eleven people on a flight that stopped off in Auckland yesterday en route to Australia were taken to hospital, suspected of having the virus. Five of those were in transit.
Mr Ryall, said the Government had made an order-in-council making non-seasonal influenza a notifiable disease.
The Canterbury District Health Board has also set itself up at Christchurch International Airport to help passengers from overseas that are unwell.
05-16-2009, 05:08 PM
12.30pm, 15 May 2009
Influenza A (H1N1) Swine Flu - Update Thirty-nine
New Zealand situation – Updated numbers
The number of confirmed and probable cases reported to the Ministry of Health as at 12:30pm today are:
* Nine confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1) – The increase from yesterday (seven) is due to the laboratory confirmation of two probable cases as influenza A (H1N1) infections.
* 10 probable cases – (down from 12 yesterday).
The two new confirmed cases are a member of the original Rangitoto College party and a passenger on the same NZ1 flight as the Rangitoto College party that arrived on 25 April 2009.
All confirmed and probable cases, including the two that have just been confirmed, have been treated and have fully recovered.
* 40 suspected cases – (down from 41 yesterday.)
Numbers of suspected cases fluctuate as more people with symptoms arriving from affected areas are assessed (treated and isolated), and as laboratory testing rules out some suspected cases.
There are currently about nine people in isolation – unchanged since yesterday. Exact numbers are not currently available and the numbers of people in isolation vary according to when they complete 72 hours of the five-day course of Tamiflu.
05-24-2009, 06:25 AM
New NZ swine flu quarantine case
A person has been quarantined in Wellington and is undergoing precautionary Tamiflu treatment for swine flu as overseas infections continue to increase.
Nine people were known to be infected with the virus , with a further one probably infected and another 18 suspected, the Ministry of Health said. All those infected had fully recovered.
The New Zealand infection figures remained unchanged from yesterday.
The person quarantined in the past 24 hours was either an international traveller or someone who had been in close contact with an international traveller from an affected area, a ministry spokeswoman said.
All of the infected people in New Zealand had recently returned from overseas travel or had been in close contact with others with the flu. There was no evidence of the virus spreading through the community in New Zealand, the ministry said.
At 6pm yesterday, 43 countries had reported 12,022 cases of H1N1 infection, up 854 from 11,168 on Friday. Eighty-six people had died from the virus so far.
Most of the infected died in Mexico (75 people), with nine dying in the United States, one in Canada and one in Costa Rica. Of the new infections, 788 were in the US, while Japan reported another 27 new infections.
05-24-2009, 05:05 PM
Just so long as the sheep don't get it ;P
06-07-2009, 06:11 AM
NZ records 14th flu case
WELLINGTON (New Zealand) - NEW Zealand confirmed its 14th case of swine flu Sunday. All of the country's cases so far have been contracted overseas.
The new case was a 46-year-old man who flew from North America a week ago and became ill two days later. He was placed in isolation and treated with the antiviral drug Tamiflu, said deputy director of public health, Dr. Fran McGrath.
New Zealand, the first Asia-Pacific nation with confirmed swine flu infections, so far has prevented the illness from spreading domestically.
'Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus by identifying people who are sick at the border and treating them,' Mr McGrath said in a statement.
Medical teams posted at international airports assess travelers, and isolation has been imposed on all those suspected of having swine flu.
Mr McGrath has warned that the sudden rise of swine flu in neighboring Australia - which has reported over 1,000 cases - would make it hard to keep swine flu from spreading in New Zealand.
The World Health Organisation says 69 countries have reported nearly 22,000 cases of swine flu, including at least 126 deaths. -- AP
06-18-2009, 03:51 PM
Girl infects others after false all-clear
A three-year-old girl was tested for swine flu and given the all-clear, only to be told 24 hours later that she had the virus.
In the meantime, Irihapeti Morrison played with friends, including one whose mother runs a Kapiti Coast playcentre.
Ruth Tame, from Nelson, was visiting family in Paraparaumu when Irihapeti became ill early on Saturday. "She was really fluey, feverish and vomiting."
Ms Tame took her to Kenepuru Hospital's accident and emergency department.
"A masked nurse said they only had one GP on who had not been trained in swine flu procedures and was being briefed."
When her daughter was finally examined by the doctor, "he threw the swab bag in the rubbish by mistake, had to retrieve it it was just hideous."
Ms Tame was given adult-dose Tamiflu capsules and told to give half-doses to her daughter because there were no child doses.
On Monday her GP's nurse rang to say Irihapeti's test was clear, so Ms Tame asked a friend and her child over the next day. That afternoon a district health board representative rang to say the test was positive after all.
"I was pretty annoyed. We had been out and about and put my friend, who works in early childhood, her child and my sister-in-law, who works at a kohanga, at risk."
Her friend and her child became unwell, and had to obtain Tamiflu and go into isolation.
Regional medical officer of health Stephen Palmer said the new test had been used for only 10 days. "It is not unexpected things like this may happen."
06-21-2009, 05:47 AM
NZ has 258 confirmed swine flu cases
The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in New Zealand was 258 on Sunday, up from 216 on Friday.
The Ministry of Health has just released its latest figures with 213 of the confirmed cases being reported in the past seven days.
Director of Public Health Mark Jacobs says while the majority of cases so far have been mild or moderate, it's inevitable there will be some more severe cases.
He says ultimately there will be some deaths, as there are every year from seasonal flu.
Dr Jacobs says the Health Ministry's focus is still on the change from slowing down the spread of the H1N1 virus to managing its impact.
A 30-year-old woman remains in a critical condition in Wellington Hospital as a result of swine flu.
The woman, who has underlying medical problems, has been in the hospital's intensive care unit since Friday.
06-21-2009, 05:49 AM
More than 40 people have tested positive for swine flu since Friday, pushing total infections to 258, the Ministry of Health said today.
Most confirmed cases - 213 - had been reported in the past seven days, and were largely in the three main cities. A backlog of test results being processed during the weekend had contributed to the jump in numbers.
Most cases had been mild to moderate, but it was inevitable some would be more severe as swine flu spread, ministry director or public health Mark Jacobs said.
"If New Zealand has many cases of swine flu overall, like we expect, this will mean an increasing number of people who will face more serious illness," Dr Jacobs said.
A 30-year-old woman described as morbidly obese and having respiratory problems remains in a critical condition in Wellington Hospital as she battles the H1N1 virus.
She is being kept in isolation in the hospital's intensive care unit and is one of three patients and two nurses at the hospital with swine flu.
There were 69 confirmed cases in Auckland, 108 in Wellington, and 67 in Canterbury, with a handful in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Wanganui/Palmerston North, and Nelson/Marlborough.
The number of probable cases remained unchanged at 17, and there were 728 suspected cases, up from 643 on Friday.
With health authorities now managing the flu rather than trying to contain it, services were focusing on people with more severe illness or those at highest risk, Dr Jacobs said.
"For most people who get infected with influenza A (H1N1) swine flu, it will be a mild to moderate illness and people should be able to care for themselves at home," he said.
"However, a person should seek medical care if they develop flu and they have other significant health problems, or if they become more seriously ill [for example, if they experience shortness of breath]."
Only the people most vulnerable to developing serious complications, or those with serious cases, would be swabbed and tested for swine flu.
The number of confirmed cases internationally has remained the same since Friday at 44,287, including 180 deaths.
06-24-2009, 07:05 PM
School absence rates rocket
Absence rates at Wellington schools have rocketed as parents keep children home as a precaution against swine flu.
New Zealand's swine flu tally rose to 386 yesterday, though health officials say the real number is likely to be in the thousands, as regional authorities have stopped routine testing.
Staff at Bishop Viard College in Porirua said 45 per cent of the school's 525 pupils had been absent each day this week, while five Hutt Valley schools reported absence rates of 25 to 30 per cent.
However, Wellington City schools seemed unscathed, with principals reporting rates similar to or only slightly higher than normal.
At Hutt Valley High School, 500 of the school's 1700 pupils had been absent each day this week about 30 per cent.
Principal Ross Sinclair said only two pupils had tested positive for swine flu before Regional Public Health stopped testing everyone with influenza symptoms, but there was "no doubt" that more pupils had the virus.
However, most of the absent pupils probably had colds or seasonal flu and were being kept home by parents as a precaution, Mr Sinclair said.
"I think it's a combination of regular flu as well as swine flu ... and parents and caregivers taking preventative measures, which is a good thing I suppose."
Many teachers were also away sick, leaving some schools scrambling to find enough relievers.
Wainuiomata High School had more than a quarter of its roll, plus 11 staff, absent yesterday.
"We're fortunate in that half of our year 10s are away on a work week, otherwise we would be running out of relievers and would be severely struggling [to stay open]," principal Rob Mill said.
"Next week it might be even more challenging."
Principals' Federation president Ernie Buutveld said it was possible some schools would have to close due to staffing shortages as the virus spread.
It was possible some pupils were taking advantage of swine flu precautions to have a few days off, but there was no way of proving that unless schools demanded medical certificates from all absent pupils.
"Given the stress on the medical services at this stage that's probably not a reasonable step."
Schools were unsure how many parents had taken time off work to stay home with sick children.
Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association spokesman David Lowe said businesses had not noticed higher numbers of employees staying home to look after children than usual.
Meanwhile, a 30-year-old morbidly obese woman last night remained in critical condition with swine flu in Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit.
Absence rates at Wellington region schools this week:
Bishop Viard College 45 per cent
Hutt Valley High School 30 per cent
Upper Hutt College 30 per cent
St Bernard's College 28 per cent
Wainuiomata High School 26 per cent
Naenae College 26 per cent
Samuel Marsden Collegiate School (Whitby) 23 per cent
07-04-2009, 07:05 AM
A cautionary tale:
Fatal swine flu victim was never diagnosed
A Hamilton teenager with swine flu died at home without being diagnosed with the illness.
He was one three New Zealanders to have died in the past week with swine flu more than likely to have been the cause, the Ministry of Health confirmed today.
Zachary Wilson, 19, had been ill for three or four days but had not been to hospital before he died last Sunday, said Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Felicity Dumble.
"What's become apparent with this situation is how quickly this can develop, and somebody can present with what looks like a common cold that may progress to more like influenza and then it can rapidly become something very serious."
Some efforts were made to treat Mr Wilson's symptoms, although no further details were made available.
Mr Wilson's family, who had been devastated by his death, wanted people to be aware how quickly someone's condition could deteriorate, Dr Dumble told reporters.
Given the wide spread of swine flu, health authorities were focusing on treating people who were sick rather than routine testing.
Mr Wilson's case of swine flu was discovered following an autopsy.
The coroner would examine if any other medical conditions had played a part in Mr Wilson's death, she said.
However, he had a history of asthma which, along with other factors such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, was more likely to cause complications.
Although people had been advised to stay at home if possible to avoid spreading the illness and adding to pressure on the health system, anyone whose condition worsened should seek medical attention, Dr Dumble said.
Some deaths were expected as a result of swine flu, she said.
"It's really important that people are aware that influenza is a serious illness and it does kill."
Signs to look watch out for included a rapidly worsening condition, a difficulty being woken, confusion or irritability, a fever of about 38.3 degrees, fits, and not keeping down fluids.
Chief Coroner Neil MacLean said a 42-year-old man with underlying medical conditions had also died on Thursday in Christchurch.
It was "strongly probable" that the H1N1 virus (swine flu) was a major factor in the deaths of both men, he said.
Meanwhile, Capital and Coast District Health Board said a young girl with underlying medical conditions died this morning in Wellington Hospital. She had earlier tested positive to swine flu.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said he, along with the ministry, expressed sincere condolences to each of the families involved.
Swine flu continued to spread throughout the community and would be around for some time, but there was no cause for alarm, Mr Ryall said.
Director of Public Health Mark Jacobs said there was no need for New Zealand health authorities to change their management approach at this stage, but vigilance would remain.
"For most New Zealanders, swine flu will be a mild illness, but in some instances, the infection can cause more severe illness and in a few tragic instances, death," he said.
As of today, the total number of confirmed cases in New Zealand was 945, up from 912 yesterday.
07-04-2009, 07:10 AM
Teen believed to have died of swine flu
Waikato health officials have released more information about one of the country's three swine flu deaths.
Nineteen-year-old Zachary Wilson died in his home on June 28, and swine flu has been linked to his death.
Waikato Medical Officer of Health Dr Felicity Dumble says there is still more testing to be done.
She says the coroner will be determining what the cause of death was, whether swine flu did in fact contribute to his death, and whether he had any existing medical conditions.
Dr Dumble says Mr Wilson is known to have suffered from asthma.
The other two deaths are those of a 42-year-old man, with underlying medical conditions, who died on Thursday (July 2) in Christchurch, and an eight-year-old girl with underlying medical conditions who died in hospital in Wellington this morning. (July 4)
07-06-2009, 07:08 AM
Wellington - New Zealand has ordered a stock of untested and unapproved swine flu vaccine for health workers, police and other emergency staff but it is not likely to be used until December at the earliest, Prime Minister John Key announced on Monday.
An initial supply of 300,000 doses had been ordered from the international company Baxter Healthcare Limited for delivery within the month, he told a news conference after New Zealand's first three deaths from the disease were revealed at the weekend.
Key said the vaccine would have to be licensed by the government's Medsafe agency which assesses the safety and efficacy of all medicines.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said clinical trials of the vaccine would be held in Europe and the purchase was strategic given that the H1N1 influenza virus pandemic could last up to two years.
'We want to be in the position of having the vaccine and not needing it, rather than the other way around,' he said.
He said that when approved two doses of the vaccine would be offered to 150,000 doctors, nurses, police, firefighters and other frontline health and emergency workers.
Ryall said that New Zealand had 1,059 confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, but there had been many more because testing was limited. Most people suffered only a mild illness which could easily be treated at home, but it was very contagious.
The Medsafe assessment and vaccination programme could be accelerated if the situation worsened, he said.
About 435 people die from influenza in New Zealand, which is now in winter, every year and Ryall said more deaths were expected because of the H1N1 pandemic.
A few things come to mind here. The vaccine as such IS untested & unlicenced currently. Barring a worsening of severity, I would be loathe to be part of an extensive field trial for a new vaccine. The Baxter vax is cell based. I'm not sure if adjuvents will be used with this one. Both issues would make me hesitate to take this vax until I'd seen it used extensively 'in the field' for some months & could get some sort of idea if there were related problems.
They'll have to run titers on it periodically - we don't know how long it will be effective in any recipient. What's the point of buying it & giving it in December if the effect starts petering out next June, just as the NEXT flu season comes into play?
If the pandemic looks to be lasting 2 years, this vax will have to be repeated, albeit with only one dose, NEXT year. Hopefully at that point, it WILL be the predominant H1N1 strain & can become part of the trivalent, seasonal vax... at that point egg based or all 3 components of the vax being cell based. I'd prefer the egg based as matters stand now.
spitting in the wind
07-06-2009, 01:49 PM
catch 22 the underlying medical conditions and front line medical are most vulnerable to contracting the dz yet you don't want to kill or injure them unnecessarily.
07-06-2009, 04:18 PM
H1N1 patient ethnicities revealed
Official figures show over 50 percent of swine flu patients -- where ethnicity is known and the H1N1 virus has been confirmed -- are Maori or Pacific Islanders.
But health officials said today it was still "too early" to say whether the pandemic swine flu virus was hitting Polynesians harder than other ethnic groups.
At noon today, of a total of 1059 confirmed cases, 207 were Maori, 212 were Pacific Islanders, and 258 were European.
Other ethnicities among patients with confirmed swine flu totalled 84 while another 298 were of unknown ethnicity.
Of the 761 confirmed swine flu patients for whom ethnicity is known, 27.2 percent were Maori, 27.8 percent Pacific Islanders, 33.9 percent European, and 11 percent other ethnicities, Health Ministry figures show.
In the 2006 census just 14.6 percent of the population were Maori, and 14.7 percent Polynesian.
A ministry spokesman was equivocal about the local implications of overseas research which suggested some indigenous people may be more susceptible to swine flu virus, compounding an array of existing health conditions.
The authors of research in a British medical journal, The Lancet, today warned of a looming international public health catastrophe.
Such a pattern was seen in the 1918 pandemic -- which involved a different influenza strain -- when Maori were seven times more likely than Europeans to die.
The author of the Lancet article was Dr Michael Gracey, a medical adviser to Unity of First People of Australia, an aboriginal non-profit organisation.
Dr Gracey cited the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 when he said almost 400 million indigenous peoples were particularly at risk of contracting swine flu because they often lived in poorer conditions with less access to medical help.
Despite comprising just 10 percent of the population in the Canadian province of Manitoba, First Nations natives make up about a third of the 685 swine flu cases in that province.
In New Zealand, the ministry said it was too early to be clear about any ethnic pattern in New Zealand.
"While the early data of confirmed cases shows a higher number of cases identifying themselves as Maori or Pacific, there are a large percentage of cases for whom ethnicity has not been recorded," a spokesman said.
The accuracy of infection rates was confounded at this early stage by numbers of confirmed cases including travellers and close contacts of travellers who returned to New Zealand with pandemic influenza infection.
And since the move to the "manage it" phase, only a small proportion of people with symptoms were now being tested, and these tended to be people with underlying medical conditions and those who were at greater risk of developing a more severe illness.
"There are a number of population groups which appear to be at particular risk to the current pandemic," the ministry said.
"These include people with co-morbidities (other illnesses such as asthma), children and young adults.
"There are also suggestions from other countries that indigenous peoples may also be at greater risk.
"It is too early to be clear about any such pattern in New Zealand."
Asked to what extent swine flu patients who fell seriously ill might be influenced by existing high levels of asthma, diabetes, obesity, and malnourishment, or their use of alcohol, other drugs, and tobacco, the MOH said there was a great deal that was still to be learned about the virus.
"It is too early to be able to attribute risk of infection or risk of more serious illness," it said.
Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said Maori people with respiratory problems should take extra precautions against swine flu.
"It is commonly known that asthma disproportionately affects Maori and lower socioeconomic groups, and therefore our people need to take even more caution and be particularly vigilant with our babies and children who are asthmatic," she said.
During the 1918 influenza pandemic, Maori died at about 42.3 people per 1000, seven times the rate of Europeans. Maori had one of the world's highest known mortality rates, and 4 percent of the Maori population died in two months.
By December 1918, influenza had killed 8600 New Zealanders, including at least 2160 Maori, and the death rate in 1918 was higher among other Polynesians as well: 20 percent of those who fell ill in Samoa died, and in French Polynesia, the flu killed 25 percent of the people who fell ill.
07-07-2009, 03:14 PM
Swine flu family's Chinese protest
A pregnant Auckland woman quarantined in China with swine flu is battling the local authorities to receive the care she needs.
Victoria Aylott, from Parnell, has been in isolation with her family since arriving in Wenzhou in south-eastern China on Friday evening.
Her daughters Celeste - who has a broken arm - and Meredith were suspected of carrying H1N1 because health officials at the airport found they had high temperatures.
After protesting against the dirty, tiny rooms they had been quarantined in underneath local hospitals, the family was placed in a motel outside the city centre.
But Mrs Aylott said she was contacted by the Shanghai consul yesterday and told the family had to return to cramped, unsanitary hospital rooms.
"We're not ill. We don't need to be in a hospital. But there is so much fear here because of their Sars experience," she said.
"The uncertainty and stress is not very nice ... while I am in my first trimester. Not knowing where we are being moved is stressful."
She said she would refuse to move if authorities approached her last night.
"They will have a fight on their hands. We are going to dig our heels in. We have tried to be accommodating. We have not said quarantine is ridiculous ... it is the quality of where they have prepared to put us."
Celeste, 5, broke her arm at Parnell School three hours before their flight to China. Her parents were concerned she would not receive adequate treatment in isolation, but health officials have promised she will be given an x-ray tomorrow.
Her father Caspar Aylott, an orthopaedic surgeon, said the fact that the girls carried swine flu despite appearing fit indicated how many people must be carriers in New Zealand.
"As a doctor, it says to me that this H1N1 must be endemic.
If our children have got it, while fit and well and going to Parnell kindy and school, it must be everywhere."
Parnell District School principal Gary Cain told the Herald he would need a firmer medical opinion before informing parents of a possible spread of infection.
07-07-2009, 04:31 PM
Forgive me for sounding harsh, however...
daughter breaks arm THREE HOURS before flight but they fly anyway? I don't care if dad is the best orthopedic surgeon in the world, that just strikes me as stupid.
There's a pandemic underway & China's quarantine policy has been written about & SHOWN to be QUITE clear by now. This family took that risk, then has the temerity to complain about conditions? I'm not crazy about the stated conditions either but a sovereign country has the stated right to 'protect' themselves anyway they see fit. It's not as if this policy is coming out of thin air.
At this time, anyone who MAY have any kind of medical issues, who might not like the quarantine conditions they may find themselves in, might reconsider optional travel plans.
07-07-2009, 04:49 PM
I wonder who fixed her up so quickly anyway...
07-08-2009, 04:29 PM
NZ reports fifth swine-flu related death
03:19 AEST Thu Jul 9 2009
Two more people have died in New Zealand after contracting swine flu, taking the death toll to five, officials said on Wednesday.
Chief Coroner Neil MacLean said a 46-year-old man suffering from influenza A (H1N1) died at his home in the South Island city of Blenheim a week ago.
The exact cause of the death of the man, who had pre-existing medical conditions, had not been determined but it was likely swine flu was a contributing factor, health officials said.
A 49-year-old man, who was thought to have underlying respiratory problems, died at the weekend in Christchurch, MacLean said.
At the weekend, he said it was "strongly probable" that swine flu was a major factor in the deaths of two other men, aged 19 and 42, one of whom had underlying medical conditions.
Another death was reported on Saturday involving a young girl with other medical problems in Wellington Hospital.
The Ministry of Health said on Tuesday 53 people had been hospitalised with the virus in New Zealand hospitals, including 12 who were in intensive care.
The total number of confirmed cases of swine flu was 1,272 on Wednesday, although only a small proportion of people with flu symptoms were now being tested for the virus, deputy director of health Fran McGrath said.
People with other significant health problems were most likely to be seriously affected by swine flu.
"However, there is growing evidence that some previously healthy people can also develop a more serious illness," she said.
07-08-2009, 04:29 PM
Swine flu toll reaches 7
4:00AM Thursday Jul 09, 2009
The first Auckland deaths linked to swine flu have been reported, bringing the national toll to seven.
They were two patients who were in Middlemore Hospital's intensive care unit. Their deaths have not yet been included in the Ministry of Health's tally, which stood at five yesterday, after two South Island cases reported by coroners.
In one of the Middlemore deaths swine flu had been confirmed; the other was a probable case.
The chief coroner, Judge Neil MacLean, said the two South Island cases were:
A Christchurch man aged 49 with a background of asthma who died at his home last weekend.
A 46-year-old man who died at his home in Blenheim on or about July 1 and had pre-existing medical problems.
The ministry said New Zealand's total of confirmed swine flu cases was 1272 yesterday. On Tuesday, the ministry said 53 people were in hospital with the virus, of whom 12 were in intensive care.
07-09-2009, 03:28 PM
New Zealand offers flu vaccine to all as swine flu toll rises
Wellington - New Zealand offered free standard influenza vaccinations to everybody Thursday as the death toll from the new swine flu disease rose to six with a possible seventh victim unconfirmed. The health ministry said the seasonal influenza vaccine, which is offered free to pensioners and people with permanent respiratory conditions like asthma ever winter, would now be available to everyone without charge.
"While the vaccine will not protect individuals from pandemic (swine) influenza, it is expected to ease the numbers of people who will be seeking treatment for seasonal ills this year as well as reducing the numbers of hospital admissions," a ministry statement said.
"The vaccine protects against the strains of influenza expected to prevail this winter."
Two people died at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on Wednesday, one was confirmed as having had the influenza A (H1N1) virus while the second was a suspected case pending laboratory test results.
The health ministry said the country now had 1,431 confirmed cases of swine flu, though the actual number would be significantly higher, because only a small number of victims with symptoms were now being tested.
It said it was a mild illness for most people who recovered readily at home without needing medical treatment.
07-12-2009, 06:13 AM
Novel Influenza A (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu- Update 103
12 July 2009
Novel Influenza A (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu- Update 103
Advice for the public on when to contact a health provider
Most people with influenza will begin to feel better after a few days. Sometimes complications, such as asthma, pneumonia or heart problems arise and the ill person may need to have a health assessment. These complications can develop with seasonal influenza as well as the new pandemic influenza.
Here are some signs to look for:
The ill person
- starts to feel better, then gets worse
- has a temperature of 38°C or greater
- has chills or severe shaking
- has difficulty breathing or chest pain
- has purple or blue discolouration of the lips
- is less responsive than normal, is unusually quiet, or becomes confused
- is vomiting and unable to keep liquids down
- has signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, not urinating, and in infants, a lack of tears when they cry
- has seizures or convulsions
If any of these things occur, call a doctor or Healthline 0800 611 116 for advice.
The cumulative total of confirmed cases of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) 09 swine flu stood at 1555 on Friday 10 July, and the number of confirmed deaths in New Zealand from Novel Influenza A (H1N1) as reported to the Ministry of Health, remains at seven.
These figures will not be updated until Monday afternoon, as the system for gathering and collating this information is undergoing scheduled maintenance.
The cumulative total of confirmed cases by region is no longer being reported because the actual number of cases of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) 09 will be significantly higher, as only a small proportion of people with symptoms are now being tested. This is because for most people it's a mild illness and they will recover readily at home without needing medical treatment.
07-12-2009, 06:18 AM
Strength of swine flu has been underestimated - experts
The number of confirmed deaths from swine flu has risen to seven, with confirmation today a Taranaki man died from the virus.
The latest death comes as experts are warning we may be being too complacent about H1N1 – it is now the dominant strain affecting 75 percent of all flu patients.
If you are not one of the 1,500 people currently sick with swine flu, chances are you are sick of hearing about it – but experts say now is not the time to be complacent.
Virologist Sue Huang says in the last week, swine flu has become the dominant strain.
“It has jumped from around 15, 20 percent three weeks ago, now it is around 78 percent,” she says.
New research shows we may have been underestimating the strength of swine flu, and that approximately as many people are dying from it in countries like Canada and the United States as were in the first flush in Mexico.
Mathematical Biologist Professor Mick Roberts has been mathematically tracking the virus and says it is too early to say exactly how deadly this strain is.
“Flu has a nasty habit of mutating and changing, therefore we just have to wait and see,” he says.
The spike in cases has seen hospitals implementing new measures to try and manage the epidemic.
At Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital they are restricting the number of visitors per patient to two, in the hope of reducing the risk of the virus being brought into the hospital.
They are restricting – where possible – the entry of children under five.
“The issue with kids under five is that unlike adults they are not so good at blowing their nose and washing their hands,” says Chief Medical Officer Don Mackey.
“So they’re actually quite potent carriers of the flu around the place.”
Middlemore is the first hospital to implement these measures, but 3 News understand other Hospitals have similar plans, which could be in place as early as next week.
07-13-2009, 03:56 PM
Swine deaths may number 11
The Dominion Post
Last updated 05:00 14/07/2009
At least seven swine flu patients have died in New Zealand.
But Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean's office could not confirm yesterday whether swine flu had been ruled out in four other suspected cases.
Total confirmed cases yesterday were 1779, up from 1555 on Friday.
The Health Ministry said the actual number of cases would be significantly higher as only a small proportion of people with symptoms were now being tested.
Deputy director of public health Fran McGrath said it was important for people with worsening symptoms to phone their GP or Healthline for advice. "Symptoms which may require further medical advice include difficulty breathing or chest pain, a high temperature, drowsiness, severe vomiting or a cough with blood or green phlegm."
Pregnant women, and people with respiratory disease, heart disease, liver disease or blood disorders, should be especially careful.
07-13-2009, 04:04 PM
10 battle swine flu in intensive care
4:00AM Tuesday Jul 14, 2009
Ten people are fighting for their lives in Auckland and Northland hospitals after testing positive for swine flu.
Most of those in intensive care with the virus are believed to have underlying health problems, but at least two otherwise healthy people - not from Auckland and Northland - have spent time in intensive care with swine flu.
Figures for the whole country are due to be released by the Ministry of Health today, including how many people seriously ill with swine flu already had other health conditions.
Seven people have died of swine flu in New Zealand so far.
Figures from four district health boards in Northland and Auckland yesterday showed 120 people were in hospital with flu-like symptoms, including from ordinary seasonal flu.
That was not an unusually high number for this time of year, said a spokeswoman for the boards.
Forty-one of those hospitalised had confirmed swine flu, or H1N1.
Auckland had 18 people in hospital with confirmed swine flu, Counties Manukau had 10, Northland eight, and Waitakere and North Shore - which share a district health board - had five between them.
Ten swine flu-positive patients were in intensive care: six in Auckland, one in Waitakere and North Shore, two in Counties Manukau and one in Northland. New Zealand's cumulative total of confirmed cases is now 1779, up from 1555 on Friday.
Only a small proportion of people with flu symptoms are now being tested for swine flu, and health authorities are no longer releasing a tally of confirmed cases for each region.
The Ministry of Health will detail today how many people are consulting GPs, are being admitted to hospital or are in intensive care.
One of the patients critically ill with swine flu in Auckland was teenager Claudia Teague, a Year 9 student from Woodford House in Havelock North, who is in Starship children's hospital after becoming sick in the holidays.
The teenager, who is also on dialysis because her kidneys are failing, was flown to the Starship from Hawkes Bay Hospital, reported the Hawke's Bay Today newspaper.
The Auckland District Health Board declined to give an update on her status last night, citing her parents' wishes.
Last week, an otherwise healthy 17-year-old Wellington woman was downgraded from a critical to a serious but stable condition by Wellington Hospital.
A 29-year-old man also with suspected swine flu and no underlying medical conditions spent time in intensive care after being admitted to Gisborne Hospital.
The World Health Organisation has stopped showing the number of confirmed cases for all countries worldwide. The Health Ministry said that was because many countries - including New Zealand - now had too many cases to get accurate tests.
So a little over a third of their total influenza is currently Pandemic H1N1.
07-17-2009, 01:34 AM
17 July 2009
Influenza A (H1N1) Swine Flu - Update 108
The Ministry of Health continues to encourage pregnant women who get sick with influenza-like symptoms to be prompt in phoning for medical advice.
As reported in the Ministry's daily update yesterday, pregnant women are one group at greater risk of complications from the new Influenza A (H1N1) virus and should call their doctor or Healthline for advice if they become unwell with influenza-like symptoms.
Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Darren Hunt says pregnant women do not need to be alarmed or go to extraordinary measures to protect themselves from influenza but there are simple things they can do to protect themselves and others. These include:
washing and drying hands frequently
staying away from people who are sick
avoiding crowded places
Dr Hunt says, "The advice for pregnant women is not dissimilar from the advice the Ministry has already been providing to other population groups at more risk from the swine flu virus."
"Pregnant women should seek medical advice promptly if they become unwell with influenza like symptoms. Their doctor may prescribe the antiviral medication Tamiflu or Relenza which are most effective if taken as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. Pregnant women should not take any antiviral medication without consulting their doctor. The doctor will assess the risks and benefits of the medicine on an individual basis and may need to seek advice from an infectious diseases specialist or obstetrician."
Dr Darren Hunt says,"It is obviously important for pregnant women to look after themselves when sick, including rest and plenty of fluids. Treating fever right away is important and paracetamol is the best treatment in pregnancy."
The cumulative total of confirmed cases in New Zealand is 2230, up from 2107 yesterday. The actual number of cases of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) 09 will be significantly higher, as only a small proportion of people with symptoms are being tested. This is because for most people, it's a mild illness and they will recover readily at home without needing medical treatment.
The number of deaths from Influenza A (H1N1) 09 swine flu remains at 10. It is important to note that these 10 deaths reported by the Ministry are deaths from swine flu, where swine flu was a primary cause of death.The Ministry will continue to report deaths from H1N1 where it is definitive that H1N1 was a major contributing factor to the person's death. Where people have H1N1 at the time of death, but it is unclear as to whether or not it led to the death, normal pathology and testing procedures will be carried out. This can take a considerable amount of time to determine an outcome.
07-21-2009, 04:55 PM
Swine flu deaths in NZ rise to 11
The number of swine flu deaths in New Zealand has risen to 11, with confirmation from the Mid Central District Health Board that a child died from the virus .
Health authorities say the child had underlying medical problems, but the H1N1 virus was a major contributing factor.
There are currently 74 people in hospital with Swine flu, and the total number of confirmed cases is now nearly 2500
07-23-2009, 06:07 PM
NZ swine flu toll rises to 14
Fourteen people confirmed as having swine flu have died in New Zealand, the chief coroner said today.
A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said the official death rate from swine flu was 11.
But the office of chief coroner Neil MacLean said he was investigating the deaths of a further three people who had the virus.
A 30-year-old woman died in hospital on July 19, and a 28-year-old man died in the community on July 13. The third death was a 39-year-old man. All were from Auckland.
All 14 people had other health problems, a spokeswoman from Mr MacLean's office said.
There are now 2,525 confirmed swine flu cases in New Zealand, up from 2,477 yesterday.
Seventy-one people with swine flu are currently in hospital, with 24 of those in intensive care.
However, the Ministry of Health said the actual number of cases would be significantly higher, as only a small proportion of people with symptoms were being tested.
Director of Public Health Dr Mark Jacobs said today the pandemic was still likely to be in its early days and continued vigilance was important. "There is no reason for either panic or complacency." GPs and hospital were feeling the pressure, but health services had been coping well, he said.
Health officials had learnt more and more about the virus since the first reported New Zealand cases in April, but still did not know how infectious it was or how many people were getting a mild form of the illness, Dr Jacobs said.
"Around the world, the pandemic is still of moderate severity. However, the threat from this new virus is real and something we are likely to have to face for some time yet."
Many New Zealanders would have caught it by the end of the pandemic with more infections than seasonal flu because people had little or no immunity to it, he said.
The virus was mild to moderate for most, but severe for some.
"What we know is that most of the severe cases occur in people with significant underlying health conditions. Pregnant women also appear to be at higher risk for complications."
She'll get to 14 eventually... :beer:
07-29-2009, 01:10 AM
These are the articles that scare the hell out of me! :eek::eek::eek:
Swine flu kills 'healthy' victim
By BELINDA FEEK - Waikato Times Last updated 10:18 28/07/2009
SUPPLIED FLU VICTIM: Joshua Lee Small-Dempsey, 21, had swine flu and died on July 16.
Tahuna man Joshua Lee Small-Dempsey may be the country's first otherwise healthy person to die of swine flu.
The 21-year-old Wintec media arts student was found dead by his mother, Rosemary Dempsey, just after 9am on July 16.
Ms Dempsey said yesterday her son had been suffering a cold a week leading up to his death.
"On the Tuesday he went into Hamilton and played cards at Vagabond. I don't know who else he was in there with."
He'd visited Hamilton using the public bus from Huntly and arrived home that night "quite perky".
"Wednesday he was quite fluey. We were supposed to take him to Harry Potter opening night at Chartwell and he said `I don't think they will let me in what with this swine flu around at the moment and my cough'."
He didn't go, but the rest of the family arrived home about 11.15pm and Ms Dempsey said she could hear him "snoring his head off".
She went out to work on the farm about 7am and he was sleeping, however by the time she returned back home at 9am she noticed an eerie silence.
"The house was very quiet and I knew something was wrong. I went into his room and he was just lying on his side, just normal, and I flicked his foot and nothing, then I shook him and his arm just fell down to his side and he was blue."
The family had been told the estimated time of death was sometime between 7.30am and 8am.
Ms Dempsey said her son was very healthy, with no underlying health issues that she was aware of.
He wasn't asthmatic nor did he have heart or liver problems.
Joshua was in his second year studying media arts at Wintec in Hamilton and had aspired to one day work as a DJ on The Rock radio station. Ms Dempsey said the shock of his death was still sinking in.
"I still feel like he's going to come home, like he's at polytech for the day."
She had found it difficult to find out more information on the virus, even as a person who had lost a loved one.
The swine flu confirmation phone call from coroner Peter Ryan took her by surprise.
Her GP was away and she tried unsuccessfully to call the Health Ministry before she received a phone call from Waikato Medical Officer of Health Dell Hood, apologising for the lack of communication.
She was also surprised the family were not tested the day she rang 111.
She relayed her swine flu suspicions to emergency services who arrived kitted out with masks and gloves.
"I thought, being swine flu, someone would be knocking on our door but none of our family have been tested.''
Even if she had sought advice on Joshua's symptoms Ms Dempsey would have more than likely been told to keep her son in home quarantine.
She was now baffled as to when to make the call to take someone to hospital.
"If you have the flu you leave it, but how long do you leave it?''
She hoped by speaking out about her experience it could help other families.
"Even if one person takes heed and it helps them at the right time because I don't want what me and my family have been through to happen to anyone else.''
Coroner Peter Ryan confirmed an initial finding of the virus in Mr Small-Dempsey but said it had not been established swine flu was the primary cause of death.
Waikato District Health Board spokeswoman Mary Anne Gill said the DHB could not release details of a swine flu death until pathology results were confirmed.
Thirteen people are thought to have died of swine flu, or influenza A (H1N1), since the pandemic hit 12 weeks ago.
07-29-2009, 05:22 PM
More stats and some advice:
Swine flu cases still rising
29 Jul 2009
HEALTH: The number of New Zealand deaths attributed to swine flu remained at 13 on Wednesday, with confirmed cases 44 higher than Tuesday at 2748.
Meanwhile, as part of its pandemic influenza (H1N1) offensive, the Ministry of Health is urging communities to be aware of those who fall ill and may need friends or neighbours to check on them.
Deputy director of public health Fran McGrath said most people knew of others who lived alone or without good support networks, and they would need help if their condition worsened.
"These may be older people, a single person, or someone who is the only adult in a household of children or teenagers."
Regularly checking on friends or relatives who were alone and ill was important, and those in such a situation were also advised to ask a friend or relative to be their "flu buddy" by phoning them daily to check on their situation.
Dr McGrath said people should seek medical advice if they had influenza which got worse, or if they had influenza and were pregnant, or had a chronic medical condition.
07-29-2009, 05:48 PM
Woman, 27, hit with swine flu while pregnant is out of coma
By STACEY SINGER
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
WELLINGTON — Aubrey Opdyke, the 27-year-old who has been fighting swine flu at Wellington Regional Medical Center, is now opening her eyes in response to her name, family said today.
Opdyke has been hospitalized since July 3, when, six months pregnant, she became incoherent and feverish after many days of battling a cough.
Her struggle with the H1N1 flu has captured the sympathies of the entire community. Her husband kept vigil at her side, choosing the name Parker Christine for the baby that doctors were struggling to save.
Aubrey lost her premature infant on July 18, while still in a medically induced coma. Shortly before, one of her lungs had collapsed. Several times, her family feared they might lose Aubrey, too.
Aubrey Opdyke's mother-in-law, Christine Opdyke, said today that in the past four or five days, Aubrey "has made great strides."
"We are very excited with the progress she has made in the last couple of days," Christine Opdyke said. "She isn't out of the woods yet, but we can see around the corner."
08-03-2009, 02:44 PM
The number of people who have died from swine flu has risen to 14.
The latest death is of a man in his 50s, who died in Christchurch last week.
He had a number of underlying medical conditions.
This week marks 100 days of action to slow the spread of swine flu in New Zealand.
The virus was first identified on the 25th April, in a group of Auckland students who had just returned from Mexico.
Across the country there are 2855 confirmed cases of H1N1 according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health.
08-03-2009, 02:47 PM
100 days of flu in a nutshell: (alternatively scroll up ;) )
100 days since swine flu pandemic hits New Zealand
3 Aug 2009
HEALTH: Sunday marked 100 days since swine flu arrived in New Zealand, and health authorities leapt into action to slow its spread.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said the pandemic had touched many sections in the community, such as health professionals , employers, private businesses and families.
"At very short notice, our whole community has successfully pulled together, in a practical and sustained response to this influenza pandemic," he said.
"We know that our health professionals and hospitals in particular have been under pressure, and have coped extremely well with the increased demand on top of the normal winter peaks."
So far 14 people have died from the virus.
A man in his 50s with underlying health problems, was the latest victim when he died in Christchurch last week.
The total number of confirmed cases of influenza (H1N1) is 2855, up from 2810 yesterday, the ministry said.
The virus was first identified in New Zealand on April 25, in a group of travellers who had just returned to Auckland from Mexico.
By early June, the first evidence of community spread was seen in greater Auckland, Wellington, the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury.
From there, the virus spread gradually into neighbouring regions, although some areas have shown little evidence of cases to date.
As the number of cases began to rise, so too did pressure on general practice, hospitals and Healthline, Mr Ryall said.
Health services reported they were now managing better and some reported fewer admissions and less need for intensive care unit (ICU) beds in recent days, he said.
`It is too early to say whether this signals any weakening in pandemic influenza or whether we are seeing the normal fluctuation that you expect, particularly with a new virus," Mr Ryall said.
"It is common for influenza numbers to rise and fall over several months and this pandemic may follow a similar pattern."
08-03-2009, 03:15 PM
One-in-five report flu symptoms
More than a fifth of adults may have had an influenza-like illness in the first months of the swine flu pandemic, a survey indicates.
Nearly half those reporting flu symptoms said they had been "quite" or "very" unwell and 4 per cent said they had had swine flu, according to the survey results. The telephone poll of 600 adults was done in Canterbury by Opinions Market Research for the region's Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.
It is the first publicly reported phone poll to try to assess the extent of influenza infection since the swine flu pandemic began in late April.
A public health specialist, Associate Professor Michael Baker, of Otago University at Wellington, said 22 per cent reporting flu-like symptoms in a telephone survey was about what might be expected.
"You might find that in any one year. But you can't convert that to a valid measure of influenza prevalence. It's great that they have taken the initiative to look at the impact of the pandemic ... it's really a blind spot in our knowledge."
But he said telephone surveys on flu produced higher figures than the real number of cases.
Even when influenza-like illness was identified by doctors, such as in the sentinel-GP reporting system used to track influenza each flu season, only a quarter of those whose throats were swabbed turned out to have influenza infection. The rest mostly had some other respiratory virus.
On average, 10 per cent of the population catch influenza each flu season, which runs from May to September.
Dr Baker said possibly half of those who have had flu this season would have had the pandemic virus. "The pandemic virus is gradually becoming dominant."
Survey of 600 adults questioned between June 30 and July 11
* 22 per cent said they had had flu-like symptoms since late April.
* 16 per cent had been very unwell; 38 per cent quite unwell.
* 4 per cent said they had had swine flu.
08-09-2009, 05:33 PM
Swine flu slows
Monday Aug 10, 2009
New Zealand's swine flu virus appears to have struck a lull as statistics show the number of people visiting GPs tapering off.
The number of confirmed swine flu cases yesterday was unchanged from Saturday, at 2935, the Ministry of Health said. The number of deaths was also unchanged at 14.
08-24-2009, 03:11 PM
NZ to wait and see on swine flu vaccine
Despite a growing swine flu death toll and fears of a second pandemic wave, New Zealand health authorities are not rushing to start a mass vaccination campaign like in Britain and Australia.
The official toll reached 16 yesterday, after the death of a Waikato woman with underlying medical conditions, in a hospital in Auckland.
The coroner's office is investigating more than 20 other deaths suspected to have been caused by swine flu.
Director of Public Health Mark Jacobs said the current pandemic may have peaked, but health authorities were bracing themselves for another wave.
New Zealand's first shipment of swine flu vaccine is set to arrive on September 8 but is unlikely to be rolled out till next year. Dr Jacobs said the vaccine first had to be licensed by Medsafe, which needed more information from manufacturer Baxter Healthcare.
"Baxter have advised that this information should be with Medsafe late December."
The 300,000 doses will be enough for 150,000 people. Frontline health workers are first in line.
"No other orders have been placed at this stage."
New Zealand officials are waiting for a World Health Organisation decision next month before deciding whether to include a swine flu vaccine in next year's seasonal flu jab.
Meanwhile, Australia has ordered 21 million doses of a vaccine and will begin a mass vaccination programme next month of up to 4.3 million at-risk patients and health workers.
Britain is due to start vaccinations from October of more than 13 million people with underlying health problems including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, renal disease and compromised immune systems.
The mass vaccination plans have been criticised by some doctors. The Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases has called on the Australian Government to abandon its plan to use multi-dose vials bottles containing many doses of the vaccine.
In a letter to Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Jim Bishop, the society's president, Associate Professor Tom Gottlieb, said multi-dose vials carried some risk of transmitting infectious diseases, "resulting in considerable morbidity and mortality".
Multi-dose vials were blamed for infecting four people with HIV in a Sydney surgeon's rooms in 1989, and linked to outbreaks of hepatitis and bacterial diseases elsewhere.
Professor Bishop dismissed the concerns, saying multi-dose vials were an efficient way of delivering mass vaccinations.
Wellington Hospital clinician Tim Blackmore a member of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases and the Health Ministry's vaccine advisory group said opinion was divided among infectious disease experts.
Multi-dose vials carried no risk if all the doses were drawn down at the same time, as was done in New Zealand during the meningococcal B vaccination campaign, he said.
"In an ideal world, we would use individual doses, but in a mass vaccination campaign, it's normal practice."
08-24-2009, 03:20 PM
I don't get this multi-dose vial concern. You open said vial, wipe it with alcohol, withdraw your first injection with a sterile syringe... then before you draw your second dose, you wipe the top of the vial with alcohol & repeat. As long as you wipe the rubber stopper bit on the vial & use a sterile syringe/needle each time, no issues.
That's standard practice; taught in first year nursing.
spitting in the wind
08-25-2009, 07:26 PM
Any one who has gotten stiches in the USA has probably gotten anestetic from a multidose vial, or steroid injection for posion ivy is another quick example. Both of these usually come from multi-dose vials and everyone is doing just fine. Logic over emotions is one of our #1 defenses in fighting this pandemic.
08-28-2009, 03:07 PM
INFLUENZA PANDEMIC (H1N1) 2009 (35): NEW ZEALAND SURVEILLANCE (http://www.promedmail.org/pls/otn/f?p=2400:1001:3713923621787420::NO::F2400_P1001_BA CK_PAGE,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1000,78973)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 27 Aug 2009
Source: Eurosurveillance 2009; 14(34) [edited]
Pandemic influenza A(H1N1) in New Zealand, Apr-Aug 2009
By: M G Baker, N Wilson, Q S Huang, S Paine, L Lopez, D Bandaranayake, et
al. [affiliatioins available at URL above]
Following the detection of imported cases of pandemic influenza A(H1N1)v
[pandemic influenza (H1N1) 2009 virus] on 25 Apr 2009, New Zealand
implemented containment measures that appeared to slow establishment of the
pandemic during May 2009. The pandemic accelerated markedly in June 2009,
reaching a peak within 4 to 6 weeks, and has been declining since mid-July
2009. By 23 Aug 2009, there had been 3179 recorded cases (97.8 per cent
reported as confirmed), including 972 hospitalisations, 114 intensive care
admissions, and 16 deaths. Influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance in
general practice suggests that 7.5 per cent (95 per cent CI: 3.4-11.2) of
the population of New Zealand had symptomatic infection, giving a case
fatality ratio of 0.005 per cent. Hospitalisations were markedly higher for
Maori (age standardised relative risk (RR)=3.0, 95 per cent CI: 2.9-3.2)
and Pacific peoples (RR=6.7, 95 per cent CI: 6.2-7.1) compared with
Europeans and others. The apparent decline of the pandemic (shown by all
surveillance systems) cannot be fully explained. New Zealand remains in the
middle of its traditional influenza season; the influenza A(H1N1)v virus
appears relatively infectious, and we estimate that only about 11 per cent
of the population have been infected by this novel agent.
A bit on CFR:
Case fatality ratio: calculating the CFR is highly dependent on estimates
of the total number of people with symptomatic illness . There have
been 16 deaths with the pandemic influenza strain recorded as the principal
cause (as of 23 Aug 2009). Using the estimated denominator population of
323 400 symptomatic cases, this suggests a CRF of 0.005 per cent (95 per
cent CI: 0.003-0.011). This estimate is in the range found for seasonal
influenza in the population under the age of 65 years (according to data
from the United States  and various assumptions ). This impact
appears mild compared with the 1918 influenza pandemic in New Zealand,
which killed 0.7 per cent of the population  and which may have had a
CFR of around 2.0 per cent . We can, however, speculate that those
people admitted to ICU today (114 so far in New Zealand) would not have
survived in 1918. On that basis, the comparable CFR estimate for the
current pandemic would be considerably higher at 0.04 per cent. Other
interventions, such as use of antivirals (mainly oseltamivir), antibiotics
to treat secondary bacterial pneumonia, and public communications have
probably also contributed to lowering the CFR. Developing countries without
access to such resources might, therefore, experience far more severe
health impacts than those seen in a developed country like New Zealand.
03-15-2010, 07:30 PM
The health ministry warns people to get vaccinated. They expect flu season might start early , at the end of this month.
This article has more details on last year:
1040 in hospital & 20 dead last year.
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