Search This Blog

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Zealand : Waikato tops NZ's flu case numbers

Via Stuff :

" With a week to go until winter, Waikato is already seeing more people for suspected flu than anywhere in the country. Natalie Akoorie and Jonathan Carson report.

A strain of flu that killed three school children in 2005 is tipped to turn nasty again this winter, health experts say.

And last week Waikato had the highest number of influenza consultations recorded by GPs nationally, with winter still another week away.

Influenza B, a seasonal strain of the flu responsible for "explosive outbreaks" of the virus, and for killing three healthy school-aged children six years ago, is expected to dominate viruses this year.

During the past two winters, swine flu and another animal-to-human flu called H3N2 were the biggest problems, with swine flu (or H1N1) reaching pandemic levels in 2009 and 2010.

Canterbury District Health Board virologist Dr Lance Jennings said New Zealanders were affected by influenza every year but of the three viruses circulating this autumn – swine flu, H3N2 and influenza B – he predicted the latter to be on the increase.

"I suspect this year we will see a mixture of viruses and possibly influenza B affecting us more severely."

This year's vaccination provided cover against all three viruses and was the best protection against the flu, he said.

WHO National Influenza Centre director Dr Sue Huang said influenza B, a human-only flu, had caused "explosive outbreaks" in the past."

No comments:

Post a Comment