Weekly consultation rates for influenza-like illness in New Zealand, 2008-2010 Weekly consultation rates for influenza-like illness in New Zealand, 2008-2010 CREDIT: Institute of Environmental Science and Research, Influenza Weekly Update 2010/28

Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 (swine flu) – Update 197

Friday 30 July 2010, 6:56AM
By Ministry of Health

Influenza activity is beginning to increase significantly. In some areas, particularly in most of the top half of the North Island there is a marked increase in influenza-like illness and other respiratory illness.

There have been 59 people admitted to hospital reported in the last week with influenza type illness, bringing to 158 the total admitted to hospital this year. There have been no admissions to intensive care reported this week.

Small number of vaccines still available - get immunised now!

Seasonal influenza immunisation as free vaccination is still available. However, there are only a small number of vaccine doses available so it's important to book in to get immunised now, especially as it takes a up to a fortnight for the vaccine to offer its full level of protection. Young children also need a longer time as they require two doses a month apart to be assured of best protection.

Free immunisation for people in eligible groups will continue while there's still vaccine available. This year's seasonal influenza vaccine contains the pandemic H1N1 virus strain and is especially recommended for those at greatest risk of complications from pandemic influenza, including women who are pregnant, very young children, severely overweight people and those with underlying medical conditions

Know how to protect yourself and your family

For some people influenza can be a very serious illness. The basic measures to protect yourself and others remain the same, but are even more important as we see more flu circulating in the community. These include:

  • get your seasonal influenza immunisation, which includes protection against swine flu
  • know the symptoms of influenza, which can include a high fever, headache, cough, sore throat, tiredness and generally aching all over
  • phone for medical advice quickly (GP or Healthline) if you have influenza-like symptoms, including consideration of whether you need antiviral medicine treatment. Antiviral medication may lessen the severity and length of your illness, but are best started within the first 48 hours. Antiviral treatment is currently available free of charge on prescription.
  • seeking early medical advice is especially important for women who are pregnant, severely overweight people and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart and lung disease and other conditions including autoimmune diseases
  • wash and dry hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home if you are sick.

Phone early for advice
If you or your family are ill and you are concerned, or if your condition worsens, get health advice by calling your GP or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

International situation

In its 16 July 2010 update, WHO noted that overall pandemic and seasonal influenza activity remains low worldwide. The pandemic influenza virus continues to be actively transmitted in parts of South Asia, West Africa, and Central America. WHO notes that in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, overall influenza activity remained low but with notable increases in recent weeks in some areas

WHO’s update on the progress of the pandemic is available on: