Western Australia Confirms Two More Swine Flu Cases

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Late yesterday evening the Department of Health confirmed two more cases of human swine influenza in Western Australia bringing the total number of cases in the state to four.

The most recent confirmed cases are an 11-year-old boy who returned from Melbourne on 1 June and a 23-year-old woman who returned from Melbourne on 3 June; both patients are at home and are doing well.

Acting Director Communicable Disease Control Dr Paul Effler said the young boy had flown to Melbourne with a youth football team and on return to Perth had participated in a school music camp prior to developing symptoms.

“We are currently contacting the students, parents and teachers who participated in these events with the young boy and the close contacts of the young woman” he said.

“The close contacts of the cases have been asked to remain in home quarantine and have been provided with anti-viral medication as a precaution.

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“The involved school has been very cooperative in helping us reach students, families and staff in a timely manner.”

More than 1000 cases of swine flu have now been confirmed in Australia, with the vast majority of them in the eastern states.

On Thursday the Department of Health issued a statement extending its voluntary quarantine policy for children who have recently travelled to areas affected by human swine influenza, including Victoria.

Dr Effler said there was no need for the public to panic as in most instances the swine flu virus appeared to cause a relatively mild illness.

“I would encourage people to make sure they cover their nose and mouth if sneezing or coughing, to wash their hands frequently, most importantly, stay home if you are sick to limit the spread of the viruses in our community,” he said.

People should continue to get their annual influenza vaccine, particularly people over 65 and under five 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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