Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

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

 

Wintry blast sees sudden rise in flu cases

Wintry blast sees sudden rise in flu cases

Chilly winter weather appears to have brought with it a sudden rise in influenza cases and other respiratory infections around the country.

Latest ESR general practice surveillance data shows a national consultation rate of 58.0 per 100,000 (220 influenza-like-illness consultations) which indicates normal seasonal influenza activity. The consultation rate has, however, almost doubled in the past month.

"It's not too late for eligible New Zealanders to protect themselves with a free flu vaccination - the Government's subsidised season ends on July 31.

Dr Lance Jennings, a virologist and spokesperson for the National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG)1, says that all three types of influenza virus currently in circulation (pandemic HINI 09 (swine flu), H3N2 and B virus) are covered by the 2011 season influenza vaccine.

"We're also seeing other respiratory viral infections, including common colds, in the community and it's important people don't confuse them with actual influenza. They may have some similar symptoms but they're not the same thing."

He says influenza is a serious disease, especially for people with underlying medical conditions. It can make their condition much worse and lead to hospitalisation and even death. Influenza is usually characterized by a sudden onset of illness, high fever, headache, a dry cough and usually lasts 7-10 days.

"Contrary to a widely-held myth, you cannot get influenza from the vaccine, as it does not contain any live virus. Unfortunately some people may be incubating a common cold when vaccinated and then develop respiratory symptoms due to a non-influenza virus.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"Around a million people have already been vaccinated but that still leaves many vulnerable people unprotected.

"People, especially those in at-risk groups, should be immunised as soon as possible. Influenza cases traditionally begin to rise sharply at this time of year and it takes up to two weeks to develop full protection after vaccination."

Influenza vaccinations are free from medical practices until the end of July for New Zealanders in these groups:

Pregnant women;

people aged 65 and over;

anyone under 65 years of age (including children) with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma), kidney disease and most cancers.

For free health advice, call Healthline 0800 611 116. For advice about influenza immunisation visit www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515.

Ends

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
International Art Centre: Rare Goldie Landscape Expected To Fetch $150,000

When Evening Shadows Fall is one of four works by Goldie included in a sale of Important and Rare Art at the International Art Centre in Parnell on November 28. Goldie painted only a handful of landscapes, concentrating mainly on indigenous portraits, which earned him a global reputation as NZ’s finest painter of respected Māori elders (kaumātua). More


Mark Stocker: History Spurned - The Arrival Of Abel Tasman In New Zealand

On the face of it, Everhardus Koster's exceptional genre painting The Arrival of Abel Tasman in New Zealand should have immense appeal. It cannot find a buyer, however, not because of any aesthetic defects, but because of its subject matter and the fate of the Māori it depicts. More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.