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Three New Deaths Linked To Swine Flu

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Fuseworks Media
Three New Deaths Linked To Swine Flu

Wellington, Aug 19 NZPA - The number of people contracting swine flu continues to rise, and three new deaths have been linked to the strain of influenza, the Ministry of Health of says.

The three deaths reported since Monday occurred in the Waitemata, Auckland and Waikato areas and took the number of deaths this winter to nine.

One of the three new deaths, a 53-year-old man, who died in Waikato Hospital this week, had no other health issues.

The other two people who died, a 29-year-old Auckland man on Monday and a 57 year-old man at North Shore last week, both had underlying medical conditions.

As of this morning, 14 people were in intensive care with H1N1. There had been 454 swine flu hospitalisations this year, including 67 people who were admitted to intensive care units.

Last year 35 deaths were linked to swine flu.

Rising numbers of people with influenza like symptoms were stretching health services, with Healthline handling more than 2000 calls from people with influenza-like illness last week, Darren Hunt, deputy director of Public Health, said.

GPs were also seeing increasing numbers of people with influenza-like illness, Dr Hunt said.

To avoid spreading the disease to others, people with symptoms should phone their GPs before going, she said.

People could also avoid spreading swine flu by washing and drying hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if they were sick, Dr Hunt said.

If people were not immunised already they should get immunised as soon as possible as it took up to a fortnight for the vaccine to offer its full level of protection, she said.

Pandemic influenza H1N1 was the most common strain of influenza circulating in the community and for most people it was a mild to moderate illness but for some it could be serious, Dr Hunt said.

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