29 Apr 2009

No cause for panic over swine flu - Public Health director

8:53 am on 29 April 2009

Health authorities say confirmation that swine flu is present in New Zealand is no cause for panic.

Eleven cases have been confirmed by the Government, after testing at a World Health Organisation regional laboratory in Melbourne.

They were all members of a Rangitoto College group which returned from Mexico on Saturday.Their test results were announced on Tuesday night.

Forty three other people are still being tested for Influenza A.

The announcement was made on Tuesday night.

Public Health director Mark Jacobs says there is no need for panic, as the test results have confirmed what was suspected from the outset.

He says the strain present in New Zealand has produced only mild symptoms in those affected, all of whom are said to be recovering well.

Public health deputy director Fran McGrath told Morning Report on Wednesday that there is no shortage of Tamiflu - the treatment for influenza.

She said people who have not been to the affected areas of the world should not be too alarmed.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says there is no need to change the current alert status now that swine flu has been confirmed in New Zealand.

The Government had been asking people arriving from the United States and Mexico in the last 14 days who have flu-like symptoms to contact a doctor.

Mr Ryall told Morning Report that has been changed to seven days.

Northcote College group cleared

Despite being given an all clear on Tuesday, 14 Northcote College pupils and four teachers are still being asked to stay at home.

The group returned from Mexico on Saturday, on a different flight to the Rangitoto College group.

Northcote College principal Vickie Barrie says the group were told not to leave home until three days after they started taking the drug, Tamiflu.