Eight people in Hawke's Bay have been admitted to intensive care suffering from swine flu in the last month.
Hawke's Bay District Health Board communications manager Anna Kirk said there had been eight confirmed or suspected cases of the H1N1 strand of influenza since the end of February, although there could be more cases which did not end up in intensive care.
"There are likely to be more people in the community who have it.
"People have been presenting with flu like symptoms but not been admitted to intensive care."
It was not out of the ordinary to get cases of H1N1 but it was unusual to have cases so early in the year before the flu season really started, Kirk said.
"We're encouraging people to get vaccinated early, especially pregnant women."
The worldwide 2009 H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic killed more than 18,000 people, according to official statistics from the World Health Organisation.
Other estimates put the death toll at more than 10 times that figure.
It only reached an epidemic stage in New Zealand, resulting in the death of 49 people.
- The Dominion Post
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