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Rangitoto College Teacher In Hospital With Flu Symptoms

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 27 NZPA - One of the teachers in the Rangitoto College group who returned from Mexico on Saturday has been admitted to hospital with flu symptoms.

The school group has sparked national health emergency planning procedures by testing positive for Influenza A after their trip to Mexico, where the potentially deadly swine flu is sweeping the country and starting to spread around the world.

The teacher is the second person from the group to be sent to hospital for treatment.

The first was admitted over the weekend but has now been discharged after being treated with antivirals, a Ministry of Health spokesman said.

New Zealand health authorities are now waiting on further test results from the World Health Organisation (WHO) laboratory in Melbourne to confirm whether the school students have the particular strain that is swine flu.

The students, teachers and their families are now in home quarantine for an unspecified period of time.

Mexican officials have put the death toll from the new flu strain at 86, with 1400 sick, while cases have been reported in the United States, Canada, Spain, and France.

The Rangitoto College group returned to Auckland from Los Angeles on Air New Zealand flight NZ1, arriving at 5am on Saturday.

The flight carried 364 passengers plus crew.

Clinical director of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, Julia Peters, said while the weekend focus was on managing the sick school students, her staff would today be following up with other passengers.

"Now that we know that this is an influenza A virus, possibly the swine flu virus, our attention will definitely be turning to all the contact tracing."

All passengers arriving in New Zealand from North America are now being screened and given information about the flu.

They are also completing passenger locator cards so they can easily be contacted if required.

"So far, touch wood, things appear to be relatively under control," said Steve Brazier, the Health Ministry's national co-ordinator for emergency planning.

If the situation deteriorated, the ministry would "ramp up" its response, moving from code yellow into the code red phase.

This would involve far more intensive work at border entry points, ring-fencing outbreaks within New Zealand, and continuing to treat patients with Tamiflu.

The effectiveness of Tamiflu on swine flu was not yet confirmed, but reports from Mexico indicated it was effective.

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