Latest Influenza News

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Otago and Southland Influenza Update -12 August 2010

The Southern DHB is now seeing increasing levels of influenza like illness in the community. "We are taking a business as usual approach at this time because the pattern and level of illness is consistent with what happens most winters" says Southland and Otago Medical of Health Dr Marion Poore. "General practices are managing the workload and people seem to be aware of the importance of basic hygiene messages. In addition many people have had the seasonal vaccination which is the best form of protection." 

The World Health Organisation has now moved to a post pandemic phase because the new H1N1 virus is now behaving as a seasonal influenza virus. However localised outbreaks may still happen.  

 

  • Click here for more infomation from the World Health Organization
 World Health Organization
   

In New Zealand, rates of influenza-like-illness have been increasing in recent weeks and have doubled in the last week rates from 77 per 100,000 to 140 per 100,000 population. Rates of illness have been highest in the 0 – 14 year age group and in this age group have more than doubled in the last week. Although the new H1N1 virus predominates, other influenza viruses are also circulating. 

  • Click here for more H1N1 news from the Ministry of Health

Ministry of Health

 

In the Southern DHB the sentinel general practices provide information on rates of influenza –like-illness each week. Rates of illness have risen in the last week to 80 per 100,000 population. This pattern is consistent for this time of year. There have been 8 laboratory confirmed cases of H1N1 but as yet no admissions to Intensive Care Units. 

There has been increased uptake of seasonal influenza vaccine with 69,740 doses of seasonal vaccine distributed in the Southern DHB as at 30 June 2010. This compares to 63,850 at 30 June 2009. Some 50% of DHB hospital employees have been vaccinated this year.

Clinically, influenza illness from the pandemic strain of virus continues to be similar to last year. The same populations who were most at risk last year continue to be so this year and include children and young people, those of any age with underlying chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women.

Immunisation is the most effective way of preventing disease but basic infection prevention and control measures remain the mainstay for reducing levels of illness. These include regular hand washing and drying, covering coughs and staying home if you are sick.  

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