Mexican Swine Influenza - Healh Alert
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is investigating an influenza-like
illness amongst a group of 25 people from Rangitoto College, on Auckland’s
North Shore, following the group’s return yesterday from a school trip
There are currently concerns regarding outbreaks of swine influenza affecting
humans in Mexico and in the United States of America (in the states of California,
Texas and Kansas at this time).
The group of 22 senior students and 3 teachers arrived into New Zealand from
Mexico via Los Angeles on Flight NZ1 on 25 April 2009, having spent three weeks
in Mexico. Some of the group have symptoms of influenza-like illness.
Therefore, as a precaution in view of the international situation, preliminary
tests are under way to determine the cause of the illness and to exclude or
confirm swine influenza (a type of influenza A, H1N1) or another type of virus.
The group of students and teachers are remaining in home isolation until preliminary
test results are known. Advice has been given to the families regarding infection
control precautions. ARPHS is supporting the families, and is providing advice
to the Principal of Rangitoto College and keeping the Ministry of Education
Clinical Director of ARPHS Dr Julia Peters says:
“We are taking this very seriously and doing everything necessary
to manage this situation in Auckland. The Ministry of Health is managing the
response to this issue at a national level.”
The best things you can do to stop the spread of any type of influenza
virus is to:
* stay at home and away from others if you are sick
* cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue
* put used tissues into a rubbish bin
* avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth – germs spread that way
* be careful to wash hands often with soap and dry them thoroughly – hand
hygiene is critical: even when you start to feel better there is still a risk
of infecting others, so keep to the 20/20 rule – 20 seconds washing and
20 seconds drying
* keep surfaces clean at home, school and work.
Travellers returning from Mexico or the affected parts of the United States
who have symptoms of influenza are advised, before returning to work or school
to contact their GP or an after hours medical centre by phone, for advice about
what to do and how to get checked out.
Anybody experiencing warning signs of severe influenza illness such as rapid
breathing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, severe vomiting or if a child is
not responding or is difficult to wake up, should get urgent medical attention.