Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) 09 Swine Flu - Update 169
Internationally the most intense pandemic activity continues to be centred in a few places in the world such as North
Africa, in Southern Asia and in parts of East and Southeast Europe. In other parts of the world, activity is declining,
however, there is still transmission of the pandemic H1N1 virus, so it has not disappeared.
In New Zealand GP consultations and calls to Healthline for influenza-like illness remain low which is what we'd expect
to see at this time of year. The Ministry of Health continues to monitor for any early signs of an upswing in influenza
- at the moment the rates of pandemic influenza remain at very low levels.
This year the Ministry of Health is taking a phased approach to protecting New Zealanders from influenza.
The first phase, 'Earlybird Protection' kicks off next month when a single-strain pandemic H1N1 vaccine will be offered
to those most at risk of getting influenza and developing complications. Those eligible for this vaccine include
frontline healthcare workers as well as people under 65 years of age (including children) with certain medical
conditions (as for seasonal influenza), pregnant women, people who are morbidly obese, and all children aged 6 months to
five years, who are enrolled with designated GP practices that have high numbers of patients who are Maori, Pacific or
from high deprivation areas.
The second phase is the seasonal influenza programme. This year the seasonal influenza vaccine contains the pandemic
H1N1 strain along with two prevalent influenza strains. Three suppliers are providing vaccine to New Zealand, and it's
expected to be available at GPs early to mid March. As in previous years, the seasonal influenza vaccine is available
free for many people including anyone aged over 65, and all other people who meet the criteria for having a serious
on-going medical condition. In addition, pregnant women, morbidly obese people and children from certain GP practices
(as outlined above) are also eligible to receive the vaccine free of charge this year. Further information on who's
eligible for the free vaccine is available on the Ministry of Health website:
Weekly consultation rates for Influenza-like illness in New Zealand 2008, 2009, 2010
Click to enlarge
The World Health Organization reports that as at 10 January 2010 worldwide more than 208 countries and overseas
territories and communities have reported laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least
More information on the global progress of the pandemic is available on the WHO website:
The most intense areas of pandemic influenza virus transmission currently are in parts of North Africa, South Asia, and
east and southeastern Europe.
The Global Influenza Surveillance Network (GISN) continues monitoring the global circulation of influenza viruses,
including pandemic, seasonal and other influenza viruses infecting, or wiht the potential to infect, humans including
seasonal influenza. For more information on this refer to the weekly virology update on the WHO website.