26 Aug 2010

Swine-flu related death toll now 15

10:19 pm on 26 August 2010

The number of deaths in New Zealand this year linked to swine flu has climbed to 15.

Five deaths from the Auckland and Waitemata district health board areas have been recorded this week.

Meanwhile, Hawke's Bay is experiencing the highest rate of influenza-like illness.

Despite this, the Ministry of Health says some regions - particularly in the North Island - may be starting to see a decline in the number of cases of swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus.

However, the ministry says it is too early to tell whether this is the start of a downward trend.

To date, 583 people have been hospitalised with the H1N1 virus this year, including 91 cases referred to intensive care.

The ministry says it is important that people seek medical advice early.