News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


SARS Update

Media Release

23 March 2003

SARS Update

A week after New Zealand's response to the threat of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome began, the World Health Organisation has announced a test may soon be available for the serious virus, the Ministry of Health says.

"International scientists have devised a basic test for the virus that causes SARS. A rapid and reliable diagnostic test is needed to assist clinicians for rapid confirmation of genuine cases and this is a significant step forward," Director of Public Health Dr Colin Tukuitonga said today.

Dr Tukuitonga said if required New Zealand will work with WHO to establish testing faclities in this country.

Latest reports from WHO say there have been 386 suspected or probable cases of SARS, identified in a variety of countries. There have been 11 deaths to date.

Hong Kong and Hanoi in Vietnam, continue to be the worst affected areas. Meanwhile a WHO team of experts is en route to China to investigate whether an outbreak of a SARS-like illness may be linked to the current SARS outbreak.

Dr Tukuitonga said according to WHO, the virus has been contained outside Asia, however New Zealand was maintaining its vigilence and still treating SARS as a very serious threat.

"In New Zealand, we still have no confirmed cases so we can be reasonably confident the virus has not entered this country. However, we are maintaining ongoing border surveillance and health care workers will manage any suspected cases with good infection control procedures ."

Dr Tukuitonga said the Ministry of Health has a national public health emergency plan to deal with an emerging issue such as SARS. The plan sets out roles and responsibilites of various groups and individuals, including DHBs, and involves continually monitoring information the Ministry receives.

The Ministry activated the plan last Monday and will continue to follow it as the situation necessitates.

To date the Ministry has: disseminated information to key agencies, District Health Boards, emergency deparments and infection control committees. disseminated diagnostic guidelines to GPs and other health care workers set up a 24-hour telephone line and a website for members of the public seeking advice on travel and other issues related to SARS. The number of the telephone line is 0800 800 80. The website address is www.moh.govt.nz/sars distributed SARS information pamphlets to airlines and information posters to airports

At this stage, travel advice for anyone contemplating an overseas trip remains the same. Persons currently contemplating non-essential travel to the worst-affected areas may wish to carefully consider their plans, however there are no official travel restrictions at this stage.

Dr Tukuitonga said the results of last year's influenza pandemic emergency planning exercise known as Exercise Virex had proved to be extremely useful in the past week.

"The action plan that came out of Exercise Virex has been a valuable guideline for responding to SARS and we have had very good systems in place."

He said the National Pandemic Planning Committee, which has been co-ordinating the New Zealand resonse to SARS and reports to the Ministry of Health will meet again tomorrow to review the situation and advise on whether further action is required.

ENDS

For more information contact: Hayley Brock Media Advisor Ministry of Health (04) 495 4375 021 512 898 www.moh.govt.nz/sars

Hayley Brock Media Advisor Government & Sector Relations\Communications Corporate & Information Directorate Ministry of Health DDI: 04 496 2115 Fax: 04 496 2010

Hayley Brock Communications Advisor Communications Government & Sector Relations Corporate & Information Directorate Ministry of Health DDI:

http://www.moh.govt.nz http://www.moh.govt.nz mailto:hayley_brock@moh.govt.nz mailto:hayley_brock@moh.govt.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi.
More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

CDF Tim Keating: NZ Somme Centenary

"Our generals also knew what to expect, and they built that knowledge into their planning. Each of the four set-piece attacks was fought with a single brigade, with the expectation that the brigade would be used up. A fresh brigade would then be brought up to conduct the next set-piece..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news