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CBAC first port of call for people with influenza

8th November 2006

CBAC first port of call for people with influenza during a pandemic

While seasonal influenza is a distant memory for most Bay of Plenty residents, there is always the risk of a pandemic influenza outbreak – whatever the season. Therefore it’s timely to remind people of the importance to be prepared.

“It’s not a case of if, but when – human cases of avian influenza are still happening and all it takes is a mutation to cause human to human transmission, which could lead to worldwide infection,” says Public Health Medicine Registrar Dr Neil de Wet.

To ensure people are prepared, a ‘Pandemic – Everything you need to know to prepare’ booklet is available in next weeks Bay News and Katikati Advertiser. It includes planning, tips, and information about Community Based Assessment Centres, or CBACs. CBACs are designed as the primary place for assessment for people with flu-related symptoms and will be set up in public buildings.

“If people think they might have the flu but don’t believe they are sick enough to go to hospital, they’ll have to call 0800 221 555 for advice. A medical professional will direct them to either hospital, their GP, a CBAC or advise them to stay at home and look after themselves,” says Toi Te Ora – Public Health Medical Registrar Neil de Wet.

Dr de Wet says most people who get the flu are expected to be cared for at home so all households are urged to stock up on food and medical supplies now, to ensure they can recover at home in the event of a pandemic.

“During a pandemic, only very seriously ill people will be hospitalised, as the main focus will be on treatment and recovery at home,” says Neil de Wet. “This is because GP surgeries and hospitals typically operate at capacity and won’t be able to cope with the additional burden.”

The free ‘Pandemic – Everything you need to know to prepare” phone book insert is in the Bay News (15 November) and Katikati Advertiser (18 November) or you can download it from www.bopdhb.govt.nz or phone for copies 07 5798411.

“It’s not a case of if, but when – so grab a copy and put it in your phone book, you never know when you might need it,” says Neil de Wet.


ENDS

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