Four diagnosed with swine flu

Four people have been admitted to Southland Hospital's intensive care unit this year after being diagnosed with swine flu.

However, the health board says the number is not unexpected, and no higher than usual.

Southern District Health Board Patient Services medical director Richard Bunton confirmed the patients were treated in the ICU.

"Southern DHB has had four confirmed H1N1 flu cases treated in ICU. This is not more than usual and we expect more H1N1 admissions during the flu season." He encouraged people to get their flu vaccinations.

He would not confirm patient ages, citing patient privacy, but said admission to the ICU indicated the cases were serious.

"Flu that causes pneumonia, like H1N1 can do, is serious and people can die. All people are vulnerable to all flus. However if you are elderly, have other medical conditions, pregnant or are very young you are more susceptible."

Ten cases of the virus had been diagnosed last year.

The Southland Times