9 Nov 2012

Swine flu pandemic cost hospitals $31 million - study

10:22 pm on 9 November 2012

Public health researchers say the swine flu pandemic three years ago cost the country's public hospitals about $31 million.

While the 2009 pandemic was relatively mild compared to the flu pandemic in 1918, it still caused the deaths of 49 people and put 1122 people in hospital.

In the New Zealand Medical Journal, Otago University researchers says those admitted to hospital stayed an average of six days at a cost of $17,000 per person.

For those who required intensive care, the average cost was $97,000 per person.

The researchers say the public health sector was able to respond vigourously to the H1N1 pandemic, but more detailed study of aspects including border control and risk factors for those hospitalised is needed so New Zealand can learn from the experience.