Sunday, April 26, 2009


The New Zealand Ministry of Health is closely monitoring updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the recent fatal outbreak of Swine Influenza in Mexico, and non-fatal cases in the western United States.

A strain of Swine Influenza - "H1H1 Swine Influenza" - is the suspected killer of 80 people in Mexico, where authorities have closed schools, museums, libraries and theatres in the capital, Mexico City in an attempt to contain the outbreak of the disease that is raising concerns worldwide now.

This worrisome new virus - which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way not seen before by researchers - has infected at least eight or more people in Texas and California at the time of writing, although no deaths have been reported in the US.

Back in New Zealand normal border control procedures are in place and will be continued, the Ministry Of Health stated yesterday. They are in regular control with the WHO, and will continue to act appropiately in accordance with their advice.

A group of secondary school students and their teachers from Rangitoto College have just arrived back in NZ from a recent trip to Mexico, and twenty five are in quarentine with ten displaying symptoms of the influenza. None of the affected patients are considered seriously ill; in fact they may well be recovering. Three other school groups who visited Mexico have been warned to watch out for symptoms of the flu. The Health authorities will continue to monitor their progress after sending their tests to the WHO.

WHAT IS SWINE FLU? Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus. The H1N1 swine flu viruses are genetically very different from human flu viruses, so vaccines for human seasonal flu would not provide protection.
SYMPTOMS: Fever, lethargy, poor appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat,nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The current strain is being spread by human to human contact through coughing and sneezing or from touching contaminated surfaces. You cannot get it from eating pork.

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