16 Jun 2009

NZ Pacific community told to stay home if flu emerges

9:07 pm on 16 June 2009

New Zealand's Pacific Islands Affairs Ministry is calling on Pacific communities to stay at home if they show flu symptoms.

39 people have been confirmed with having swine flu in the Canterbury city of Christchurch and the district's medical officer of health, Dr Alistair Humphrey, says they nearly all originate from a Samoan woman who got the virus while on a visit to Australia.

The ministry's chief executive officer Dr Colin Tukuitonga says it's important for Pacific Islanders to stay in isolation when they are ill.

"If people are unwell then they should stay home instead of going to school or work and specifically in our case we are encouraging people not to go to gatherings and congregations if they are unwell. Pacific folk tend to have much more of an interaction with extended family and groups, like church and so on and so forth."

Colin Tukuitonga says people should not travel to the islands if they are sick as they risk infecting others.