Influenza cases on the rise in Taranaki

3 April 2019

Taranaki DHB is urging the community to protect themselves and get immunised against Influenza after a severe spike in the number of cases coming through the doors of Taranaki’s Emergency Department.

Taranaki DHB’s chief medical advisor, Dr Greg Simmons says “In the last week we have seen five people with confirmed Influenza A, H1N1 infection, admitted to Taranaki Base Hospital. Several of these have been severe enough to warrant a stay in the Intensive Care Unit. With this spate of early flu cases we are asking people to get protected from the flu as soon as possible by getting immunised”.

Dr Simmons wants to reinforce how easily influenza is spread. “We have had cases being transmitted within the hospital from patient to patient. The best way to reduce the spread of influenza to the most vulnerable people in our community is by getting immunised. This will protect both you and your family”.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jonathan Jarman is also warning the community not to be complacent and says a bad flu season can happen any time. 

“It is unusual to get a burst of influenza cases at this time of year, some of whom have ended up in intensive care. Symptoms can come on suddenly and include fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, cough, stomach upsets and severe fatigue. Every year people die from the complications of influenza.

“For older people, it is important to be immunised against Influenza every year to stay healthy and active for longer. Even fit and healthy people can get seriously ill from the flu, and a serious case can worsen existing long term health conditions and have a long lasting impact on their quality of life and independence”.

People can get their influenza immunisation free if they’re at high risk of getting the illness, including those aged 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic or serious health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer or severe asthma. Children aged 4 and under who have a history of significant respiratory illness are also eligible.

Dr Jarman confirms “This year’s funded vaccine will protect against four strains of influenza A and B including the H1N1 strain of influenza A”.

The vaccine is available free from general practices and many community pharmacies for those eligible, or for a small fee for everyone else.

 

ENDS

For more information please call

Beth Findlay-Heath
Communications Advisor
021 665 017

 

Last updated: Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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