Rise in flu-like illnesses

Surveillance programmes involving GP practices have shown a "very slight increase" in the number of influenza-like illnesses among patients in Otago-Southland, Public Health South medical officer of health Dr Marion Poore says.

However, there had been no recent confirmed cases of the swine flu pandemic strain of H1N1 virus in the southern region, Dr Poore said.

There had been a significant increase this year in the number of people choosing to be vaccinated against influenza, with a multi-strain vaccination available against the pandemic strain of influenza A and two other influenza strains, she said.

Seasonal flu vaccinations are free for those over 65, for pregnant women, and for people with underlying health problems, including heart and respiratory conditions.

Health authorities were this year encouraging people with such health issues to get vaccinated "as a way to protect them from illness", she said.

- john.gibb@odt.co.nz


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