New Zealand still has swine flu17th August 2010
People in New Zealand are still getting swine flu, according to local health authorities.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently issued a statement that the swine flu pandemic had finished in all parts of the world.
Health authorities in New Zealand described the level of swine flu in their country as being a significant enough to merit attention.
Darren Hunt, New Zealand deputy director of human health, said that, while some countries had seen the H1N1 virus decline or crowded out by other strains, such was not the case in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, four people are presumed dead from H1N1 swine flu this year.
Hunt said that some areas of New Zealand had had significant outbreaks of the disease, resulting in a lot of absences from school and work, and that the pandemic H1N1 swine flu strain was still the predominant strain.
WHO director general Margaret Chan said that the world no longer needed to be in phase six of the pandemic alert protocol.
She said that the WHO was moving on to the the post-pandemic period of the protocol.
The WHO's top flu official, Keiji Fukuda, said that the H1N1 swine flu virus was no longer capable of causing a pandemic.
Hunt said that hospitals in New Zealand were seeing many more people from areas where people weren't affected last year.
He said that, during the course of this year, over 300 people were confirmed to have been infected with H1N1 swine flu, including over 30 people admitted to intensive care.
Chan cautioned people against becoming complacent about swine flu, and said that even though hospitalisations and deaths had dropped, countries should keep an eye out for unusual patterns and for mutations of the virus.
She said that it was likely that the virus would continue to cause serious disease in younger age groups and in high-risk groups.
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Title: New Zealand still has swine flu
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 15816
Date Added: 17th Aug 2010