Friday, 1 May 2009 9:28 AM

Health Authorities on High Alert

National health clinics and centers are on a heightened state of alert as the reach of swine flu closes in on the Solomon Islands.

Reports have confirmed that there are now 14 registered cases of swine flu in Auckland, New Zealand, up from 11 yesterday.

These are the only definite infections in the Asia-Pacific region. A further five cases are suspected, said Julia Peters, regional public health team leader for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city.

The swine flu epidemic broke out in Mexico, killing seven people and causing more than 800 young Mexicans to fall seriously ill.

Latest reports say Mexican health authorities may have pinpointed the origins of the flu - in a five year old boy residing in rural Mexico.

The World Health Organisation has also recently issued a statement saying the swine flu outbreak is moving closer to becoming a pandemic.

According to W-H-O pandemic alert level, the swine flu sits on level five.

Phase 6 is the highest in the scale and represents a full-scale pandemic.

In the Solomon Islands, flu cases are being treated as a medical priority effective as of this morning.

Under Secretary for Health Care at the Health Ministry, Dr Carl Suraiara says in the current climate, knowing that the nation is under threat of the swine flu virus - all health officers at identified flu health sites are required to immediately attend to patients showing symptoms of flu.

Officials have not confirmed any cases but have alerted medical care providers to continue watching for flu-like illnesses.

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