Australia Continues Swine Flu Preparations

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WA Health continues to prepare for the possibility of local swine flu cases in light of today’s Federal Government decision to raise the pandemic response phase from Delay to Contain.

While the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 Influenza (Human Swine Flu) in Australia today rose to 12, WA was still to see its first case.

So far 54 people in WA have been tested for swine flu with 53 being given the all clear.

Acting Director of Communicable Disease Control Dr Paul Effler said the change in national alert level would not immediately impact current activities and preparations in WA.

“It is likely we will see swine flu cases at some point over the next few months because we know the virus is contagious and that people travel extensively across Australia and overseas,” he said.

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“Our surveillance systems at the airports have been working well and we will continue to investigate suspected cases.

“It is important that people who have been travelling in North America and Mexico and are experiencing flu-like symptoms should seek medical advice.”

Dr Effler said there was no need for the public to panic.

“In most instances the human swine flu virus appears to cause a relatively mild illness and the rare cases of more severe disease have generally responded well to antiviral medication,” he said.

People should continue to get their annual influenza vaccine, particularly people over 65 and under 5 and other vulnerable groups.

While the current influenza vaccine won’t protect against this new strain of swine influenza, it will protect against serious illness caused by seasonal influenza.

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