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School group test positive for swine flu

Published: 9:07PM Tuesday April 28, 2009 Source: ONE News

Three of the 11 Rangitoto College group, who travelled to Mexico, have tested positive for swine flu - enough evidence to confirm all 11 cases as the virus.

In a press conference just after 9pm on Tuesday, Minister of Health Tony Ryall announced that four of the Rangitoto group's samples had been tested by the WHO lab in Melbourne and three of those have returned positive results for swine flu.

"Officials have advised me this evening that is sufficient to indicate that swine flu is the cause of the illness experienced by the Rangitoto group.

"Their symptoms were mild and they all are recovering, this is the pattern seen outside of Mexico," says Ryall.

He says it can now be confirmed that there are 11 cases of swine flu in New Zealand and 43 suspected cases.

"We took a cautious and appropriate approach by treating all of these affected travellers as probably positive while we were awaiting the test results," Ryall says.

Following the results Ryall says the time period covering the public advisory has been changed. Anyone who has been in the United States or Mexico in the last seven days and is displaying flu like symptoms should contact their GP.

Ryall says there's no need to be alarmed, but it's a time to be cautious.

Director-General of Health Stephen McKiernan says they're managing to contain the spread of swine flu.

He says they're fortunate that they were able to act early, and so the provision of Tamiflu to family contacts and to the rest of those on the plane was with containment in mind.

There are 43 other suspected cases around the country.

No deaths outside Mexico

The swine flu death toll in Mexico is at 149, but foreigners who've contracted it have become only mildly ill and there have been no deaths outside Mexico.

More than 50 infected people have been found in the United States, six in Canada and three across the Atlantic in Spain and Scotland. Possible cases are also being tested in Norway and South Korea.

The Rangitoto College group returned to New Zealand on Anzac Day at 5am on Air New Zealand flight NZ1.

Initially 10 of the Rangitoto College group tested positive for influenza A, the swine flu parent virus, but it emerged on Tuesday that another person from the group also has influenza A and will now be tested for swine flu.

Three students from Northcote College, who had also been to Mexico, returned negative results for influenza A.

Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to those of seasonal influenza - sudden onset of fever, coughing, muscle aches and extreme tiredness. Swine flu appears to cause more diarrhoea and vomiting than normal flu.

While there is no treatment specifically targeted at the virus the Tamiflu anti-viral drug has proved successful in treating it so far.

From Friday, Tamiflu will be available over the counter in pharmacies.

Keep up to date with the latest news no matter where you are with our dedicated swine flu Twitter feed. - PLUS Health correspondent Lorelei Mason will be keeping you in the loop on how she is covering the story as it develops -

Got an opinion on this new health concern? Share your thoughts on the message board below.

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  • alwyn said on 2009-06-18 @ 14:34 NZDT: Report abusive post

    The general flu causes between 200,000 and 250,000 deaths p.a world wide. Swine flu has caused only a fraction of this number in proportion. There is a temporary cure i.e. Tami flu until a vaccine is produced for H1N1 flu. I don't understand what all the fuss is about?

  • Janey said on 2009-06-16 @ 09:36 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I think NZ media and health service has been far too blase about this outbreak. The UK's BBC news website has been reporting symptoms and PREVENTION for weeks and has an excellent outbreak map, which clearly shows quick acceleration of the virus. The UK's health service posted information leaflets to every home WEEKS ago. My husband works in a a business where the workers come into contact with lots tourists - they only just received a booklet on the virus 2 days ago. NZ, get with the programme!

  • skeptic said on 2009-06-16 @ 07:57 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Thank you Mark Sainsbury for telling us the symptoms, and debunking the mythology. Many of us did not even know that we probably have the swine flu which is probably now widespread in our community. It was clear from the outset that authorities were not taking the drastic steps necessary to contain an epidemic. Since they have created an elaborate ritual to prove that they have done everything possible ... Thank God this was not a SERIOUS pandemic.

  • FightFlu said on 2009-05-04 @ 23:41 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I absolutely agree Tis, this particular virus could have been a lot worse. Due to information technology these days we have highly accessible and up to date information to keep us informed, and with knowledge is power. As long as the people remain calm, and keep informed we should be able to keep the Swine Flu at a safe distance.

  • Tis said on 2009-05-02 @ 11:33 NZDT: Report abusive post

    This scare could perhaps prepare us well for a more severe future pandemic - e.g. Ok, so all the focus is on Tamiflu - but what about ensuring enough antibiotics to treat secondary infections from a new influenca - and do we have enough of those machines in hospitals to help people breath when they are in acute respiratory distress - lets hope so!