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

 


Killer Flu Expected to Hit Waikato This Winter

Media Release

Date: Friday 22 March 2013

KILLER FLU EXPECTED TO HIT WAIKATO THIS WINTER

A killer flu is expected to strike New Zealand this year and doctors are warning it is a deadly serious virus.

Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Felicity Dumble says she is concerned about the flu strain which saw 64 children die in the United States from influenza-associated illnesses during their winter.

Coupled with that, Waikato is seeing increasing cases of pertussis (whooping cough). The latest Public Health Bulletin shows Waikato had 63 reported cases in February, up 41 on the same month last year with 124 year to date since 1 July.

Of the 163 notified cases since 1 January 2012, 57 were from Hamilton, 12 from Matamata Piako, seven from Hauraki, nine from Otorohanga, three from Ruapehu, eight from South Waikato, 22 from Thames Coromandel, 16 from Waikato district, 16 from Waipa and three from Waitomo.

"We had the second highest notification rate in New Zealand last month," said Dr Dumble.

"We encourage pregnant women to ask their doctor about the free pertussis vaccine when receiving their influenza vaccine. Both vaccines are recommended and funded for pregnant women, as the viruses cause high risk to mother and baby and are circulating at epidemic levels."

The National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG) and national District Health Boards (DHBs) advise that influenza vaccinations are the most effective way to fight the epidemic levels of infection that struck the Northern Hemisphere winter.

“No matter how fit and healthy you are, we are all at risk of catching this disease,” said Dr Dumble.
However, elderly and very young patients were particularly vulnerable in the United States this season.

People 65 and over accounted for more than half of all reported influenza-associated hospitalisations– the highest number since records began in 2005. The next highest group were children under four years olds.

“The timing of New Zealand's influenza season is unpredictable but we may see the disease arriving earlier than usual as has happened in the Northern Hemisphere," said Dr Dumble.
Fortunately the New Zealand vaccines for 2013 cover the virus strains causing problems in the Northern Hemisphere and most likely to affect us this year.

"Influenza vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of catching this disease and lessen symptoms and complications if you do," said Dr Dumble.

She warned being fit and healthy cannot prevent the flu. Immunity to a particular strain of the virus only occurs if you have had it before.

The 2013 vaccine has just arrived in GP surgeries across the country and immunisation is free from a GP or nurse for New Zealanders at high risk of complications - pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, and for people of any age with long-term health conditions.

“It takes two weeks to develop immunity following vaccination so being vaccinated before the season starts will gain you the most benefit,” said Dr Dumble.

The influenza vaccine is safe and effective and can reduce illness and respiratory diseases which are deadly for some pregnant women.

As well as getting an influenza vaccination, NISG and national DHBs urge protection is heightened by:

• Washing and drying hands often

• Staying away from people who are sick

• Staying away from work or school if unwell

• Covering coughs and sneezes

More pertussis information:

Pertussis (whooping cough) epidemiology in Waikato, New Zealand: 2000–2009

http://www.waikatodhb.govt.nz/news/pageid/2145880292/Killer_flu_expected_this_winter

http://www.waikatodhb.govt.nz/events/pageid/2145879519/Pertussis_rates_rise_-_Latest_public_health_bullet

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

With Hunters & Collectors: The Rolling Stones Announce New Auckland Date

It’s the news New Zealand has been waiting for. The Rolling Stones today confirmed the rescheduled dates and venues for both the Australian and New Zealand legs of their highly anticipated ’14 On Fire’ tour. Now, Frontier Touring is also delighted ... More>>

ALSO:

Flying Things: Conchords, Pretties Help BATS Fly Home

The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords. More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Zoo’s Own Wētā Workshop Produces Rare Giants For Release

Following unprecedented breeding and rearing success, Auckland Zoo is today releasing 150 of New Zealand’s largest giant wētā, the wētā punga, onto pest-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. A further 150 will be released onto Tiritiri Matangi next month. More>>

Girls On Film: Divergent Hits The Big Screen

n January, Catching Fire (the second film in the Hunger Games series) not only became the biggest US box office success of 2013 : it also became the first film starring a female actor (ie. Jennifer Lawrence) to top the annual domestic earnings chart since The Exorcist, 40 years ago. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: No Travel Sanctions For Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

On the same day that New Zealand announced travel sanctions against selected Russians, a Russian billionaire’s superyacht berthed in Wellington Harbour. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: UC Researchers Believe Robots Can Persuade People To Conform

A team of University of Canterbury (UC) researchers and scientists believe robots can persuade people to conform through group pressure... ``Our results showed that robots can induce conformity but to a significantly lesser degree than humans." More>>

NZ On Air: Local Content Holds Steady At 32% Of Television Schedules

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. More>>

Arts Fest: 2014 New Zealand Festival A Spectacular Celebration

The New Zealand Festival welcomed the world to Wellington over 24 days (21 Feb – 16 Mar) of arts events across the city. “[current figures show] slight increase on the 110,000 tickets issued in 2012. It’s a great result.” More>>

Opera: Happy 70th Birthday Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

Our first lady of song who “feels more like at 15 year old” will celebrate her significant birthday on stage at Covent Garden tomorrow night (Friday morning NZT), performing in the Royal Opera House’s production of La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) as La Duchess de Crackentorp. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news