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H1N1 09 Swine Flu - Update 108

Media Release

17 July 2009

Novel Influenza A (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu - Update 108

The Ministry of Health continues to encourage pregnant women who get sick with influenza-like symptoms to be prompt in phoning for medical advice.

As reported in the Ministry's daily update yesterday, pregnant women are one group at greater risk of complications from the new Influenza A (H1N1) virus and should call their doctor or Healthline for advice if they become unwell with influenza-like symptoms.

Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Darren Hunt says pregnant women do not need to be alarmed or go to extraordinary measures to protect themselves from influenza but there are simple things they can do to protect themselves and others. These include:
• washing and drying hands frequently
• staying away from people who are sick
• avoiding crowded places

Dr Hunt says, "The advice for pregnant women is not dissimilar from the advice the Ministry has already been providing to other population groups at more risk from the swine flu virus."

"Pregnant women should seek medical advice promptly if they become unwell with influenza like symptoms. Their doctor may prescribe the antiviral medication Tamiflu or Relenza which are most effective if taken as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. Pregnant women should not take any antiviral medication without consulting their doctor. The doctor will assess the risks and benefits of the medicine on an individual basis and may need to seek advice from an infectious diseases specialist or obstetrician."

Dr Darren Hunt says,"It is obviously important for pregnant women to look after themselves when sick, including rest and plenty of fluids. Treating fever right away is important and paracetamol is the best treatment in pregnancy."


Latest Numbers

The cumulative total of confirmed cases in New Zealand is 2230, up from 2107 yesterday. The actual number of cases of Novel Influenza A (H1N1) 09 will be significantly higher, as only a small proportion of people with symptoms are being tested. This is because for most people, it's a mild illness and they will recover readily at home without needing medical treatment.

The number of deaths from Influenza A (H1N1) 09 swine flu remains at 10. It is important to note that these 10 deaths reported by the Ministry are deaths from swine flu, where swine flu was a primary cause of death.The Ministry will continue to report deaths from H1N1 where it is definitive that H1N1 was a major contributing factor to the person's death. Where people have H1N1 at the time of death, but it is unclear as to whether or not it led to the death, normal pathology and testing procedures will be carried out. This can take a considerable amount of time to determine an outcome.


Australian Situation

For the number of confirmed cases in Australia, go to the Australian Government's Department of Health and Ageing website at:
http://www.healthemergency.gov.au/internet/healthemergency/publishing.nsf/Content/updates-19july09.htm


International Update from the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization is no longer issuing tables showing the numbers of confirmed cases for all countries. This is because there is an increasing number of cases in many countries, including New Zealand, which is making it extremely difficult to confirm laboratory testing in an accurate and timely manner. For more information about this reporting change go to the WHO website:
_http://www.who.int/en/

ENDS


Information in this update can be attributed to Deputy Director of Public Health Dr Darren Hunt

For health information and advice, the public should call Healthline 0800 611 116


For latest updates on Influenza A (H1N1) Swine Flu, visit www.moh.govt.nz


Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/minhealthnz


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