30 Sep 2009

18 confirmed swine flu deaths in NZ

6:15 pm on 30 September 2009

An Auckland woman has died from swine flu this week, taking the death toll from the virus in New Zealand to 18.

The Health Ministry says the 67-year-old did not have the underlying health conditions normally associated with severe illness from swine flu.

The ministry says two people are still in hospital with swine flu or its complications.

Health officials say doctors' visits and calls to Healthline are back to normal levels for the time of year. Announcements about swine flu on flights have been suspended.

Officials say the medicines regulator Medsafe has approved a two-year extension to the expiry dates on boxes of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, following similar moves overseas.

Australia, which began offering a free vaccine against swine flu on Wednesday, has had 77 new hospitalisations with the virus this week. The death toll from swine flu stands at 180.