Deadly influenza strain back with a vengeance

Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014

Relevant offers

Health

I lived in fear of pain. Then I let it go Safety fears as flu surge hits hospital Could Ebola reach New Zealand? Staff on front line at hospital's Te Puna Waiora Whanau links helping hospital Nurse injected two women with same needle Girl dunked in river to fix 'blocked auric field' GP moves on after 38 years Controversial hope for stroke victim Nurses to perform bowel cancer tests

Flu is on the rise with the cooling weather, leaving hospitals struggling to cope with a surge in patients.

The influenza strain behind the 2009 "swine flu" pandemic that killed 19 people in New Zealand - A(H1N1) - appears to be back with a vengeance, accounting for most of the flu cases reported this year.

Dr Lance Jennings, of the National Influenza Specialist Group, said dozens of people had ended up in intensive care after contracting the H1N1 strain this year, including several in Wellington and Hawke's Bay.

One Canterbury patient had died. "It is really coming back to haunt us."

The strain was most likely to hit children, young adults and the healthy, he said.

The number of flu cases had risen strongly as winter set in, with 95 unconfirmed cases reported in the last week of June.

The rates were higher than this time last winter but were still below the usual winter peaks. Flu rates were highest in the mid-central North Island, Hawke's Bay, East Coast and Canterbury.

Rates were still lower than average in the Wellington region.

Jennings said people could still get their flu jabs till the end of the month and it was free for many at- risk groups, such as people over 65, children and pregnant women.

Many people eligible for free flu jabs had still not taken up the offer this season.

"That still leaves many vulnerable people unprotected and this is a concern as we head into flu season," he said.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should fluoride in water be the responsibility of central government?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content