Something to worry about? Maybe
Unlike the bird flu outbreak, which may have been controlled by a huge slaughter of birds, the swine flu seems to have some legs.
The British are on alert, the French may have suspected cases. International flying adds to the mix. Influenza, is not what most people call the flu, which is really the common cold.
The cases are characterized by severe influenza-like symptoms, followed by pneumonia, which has, in some Mexican cases, resulted in death.
Prior to the outbreak, the winter of 2008-2009 was a comparatively mild year for flu infections, which typically cause 250,000-500,000 deaths yearly, mostly in the elderly, the very young, and persons with chronic illness.
What concerns the WHO is the possiblity of a pandemic flu attack.
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From Australia and the Hearald Sun
April 26, 2009 05:15pm
UPDATE 6.42pm: Ten New Zealand students are likely to have contracted swine flu during a trip to Mexico, testing has found.
Three teachers and 22 senior students from Auckland's Rangitoto College have been kept in isolation following their return on Saturday from a three week language trip.
More than 80 people in Mexico are believed to have died and over 1300 are sick as a result of catching swine flu. Cases have also been reported in New York, California and Kansas and a British Airways pilot has been hospitalised in London with flu symptoms after returning from Mexico.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said in a statement on Sunday 10 of the 13 students tested had returned positive influenza results.
"Ministry of Health officials advise me there is no guarantee these students have swine influenza, but they consider it likely.
"All precautions are being taken to allow for this. However, I am also informed none of the affected patients are considered seriously ill, and most in fact seem to be on the road to recovery."
The ten students had tested positive for Influenza A.
The results would be sent to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Melbourne to ascertain whether it was the H1N1 swine influenza, he said.
He did not know when the results would be known, but said given the global situation they would be treated with considerable urgency.
He encouraged other passengers on the flight from Los Angeles the students returned on, to consult with their GP or other health professional if they develop flu-like symptoms.
Middlemore Hospital had released tamiflu to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service to treat the patients and people who had been in contact with them.
The Ministry was in contact with the WHO and was liaising with Australia in terms of their response.
The New Zealand school group has been quarantined after returning from Mexico with flu-like symptoms.
A new, multi-strain swine flu has flared in Mexico, and is feared to have killed more than 80 people, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning of "pandemic potential."
The New Zealand foreign ministry has issued a travel health notice for swine flu in Mexico, California and Texas, and said anyone who has recently travelled to these areas and developed flu-like symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
The Rangitoto school party returned to New Zealand from Mexico via Los Angeles.
The New Zealand health ministry is implementing the early stages of its pandemic response plan, and is liaising with the WHO and Australian health officials.
A New Zealand-based animal diseases consultant, Professor Roger Morris, said the country had stockpiles of the medication Tamiflu, which he said appeared to work against the current strain of influenza.