Overall influenza activity continued its steady drop below the baseline for the third consecutive week. Our influenza season is almost over, and this will be the Ministry of Health’s last update on the pandemic influenza.
But as the World Health Organization pointed out when it announced the shift to the post-pandemic period on 10 August 2010, continued vigilance is important.
The swine flu virus has not gone away. WHO expects the virus will continue to circulate for some years to come and take on the behaviour of a seasonal influenza virus. And of course the basic advice about regular hand washing and drying, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick remain important ways we can reduce the risk not just of swine flu but also many other infections.
In New Zealand, 727 people have been hospitalised with laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic influenza so far this year. Fifteen of the 20 swine flu-related deaths reported to date were confirmed to be due to swine flu.
It's still important to seek medical advice early, particularly for people with underlying medical conditions or who are severely overweight or pregnant as they are at greater risk of a more severe illness. If you have flu-like symptoms, phone your GP first before you go in to help them manage your care and prevent spread to others. For health advice, call Healthline on 0800 611 116. Stay home if you are unwell.