Sunday, April 26, 2009

flu suspected in new zealand

Voxy NZ | An Auckland school group is being tested for swine flu after returning from Mexico with flu-like symptoms.

More than 80 people in Mexico are believed to have died and over 1300 are sick as a result of catching swine flu. Cases have also been reported in New York, California and Kansas and a British Airways pilot has been hospitalised in London with flu symptoms after returning from Mexico.

Three teachers and 22 senior students at Rangitoto College, New Zealand's largest secondary school, on Auckland's North Shore, yesterday returned to Auckland on a flight from Los Angeles, after a three week trip to Mexico .

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said today some had symptoms of an influenza-like illness and were remaining in home isolation as a precaution while tests to exclude or confirm swine influenza were carried out.

One student was believed to be in hospital.

Ministry of Health spokesman Michael Flyger told NZPA the results of tests were expected this evening.

He said at this stage other passengers on the flight were not being sought and the next step would depend on what the tests showed.

"We don't believe at this point that there is a need for that.

"We might get no positives, we might get one, we might get all of them. It's a pretty big step to be taking (and) it's something that would be considered."

In the meantime the students and teachers had been told to stay at home in isolation and ARPHS was briefing their families and the school on infection control precautions.

While the virus' spread was considered serious enough for WHO declare a health emergency, Mr Flyger said hit had proven responsive to drugs.

"It is concerning for sure. You've just got to look at the WHO's advice on this, but it has shown it reacts to treatment so it's not as bad as it could be.

"We're not looking at (the horror film) 28 Days Later."