Monday, 22 June 2009 8:10 AM

Swine Flu Spreads in the Region as Fiji and PNG Confirm Cases

The A(H1N1) flu is officially in the region as two more countries confirm cases.

Papua New Guinea confirmed its first case last week with a media conference on Saturday afternoon, according to the country's The National.
According to the report, it was 'announced that tests had confirmed one case of swine flu from the 16 samples sent to the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia'.

According to the report, authorities are trying to locate the person, a resident of Port Moresby, who had flown into PNG from Australia last weekend.
A member of the influenza task force surveillance team told The National the team was trying to contact the infected person, and seek details of people the person would have come in contact with and that since the person developed the influenza-like illness and went in for testing, the person had been under "in-house quarantine" meaning that he was told to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone.

According to the report, PNG's Health Department secretary, Dr. Clement Malau, said that 'every precaution was being taken to follow up close contacts of the person, including family members, to determine if they had contacted the illness, in preparation for the seven-day quarantine period'.

Dr Malau stressed that there should be no panic, adding that personal hygiene remained vital in the fight against swine flu.
"All Papua New Guineans can do their bit by following simple hygiene procedures, such as regular hand washing with soap and water, covering their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and staying home if they are sick," he said.


According to the report, PNG's Health Department reported that three more people had been listed as possible infections, raising the number of suspected cases to 19 and WHO PNG head of delegation, Dr Eigil Sorensen, 'confirmed that PNG's first case was "in line with expectations" given the situation in neighbouring Australia and globally'.

Meanwhile, Fiji confirmed its first case on Saturday and its second case yesterday.

According to Fiji Times Online, a Fiji local tested positive for the A(H1N1) virus after he sought to be tested and treated.
The man, who had returned from Melbourne a few days earlier, sought treatment after 'his family in Melbourne informed him that they had tested positive with the dreaded new flu virus'.

However, today, Fiji Times Online reported the country's second case, a close friend of the first person infected.
Both cases are being quarantined with their families while others who have come in close contact are being tested for the virus. Both are also being treated with the prescribed anti-flu medication, Tamiflu.

Both cases are in Nadi and as yet, there is no confirmed case in Suva, Fiji's capital, with tests coming back negative.
However, Health authorities are urging that people should know that it is important that they wash their hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing and to seek immediate medical attention if they have symptoms of the H1N1 flu.

The latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO) is that a total of 44,287 people have been confirmed with the virus around the world. This includes the 1 case from Tahiti, 1 from PNG and 1 from Samoa however, the recent Fiji cases are not yet included.

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