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Deadly flu virus detected in Cooks

Saturday June 01, 2019 Written by Published in National

Two cases of influenza A which has caused deaths in Australia and New Zealand have been reported in the Cook Islands.

 

This was confirmed by the Ministry of Health’s director Hospital Health Services, Dr Yin Yin May.

Dr May said so far 12 cases have been identified. These cases were tested around mid-May and specimens were sent to New Zealand for confirmation.

She said the results found that there were two influenza A cases and four flu B cases so far.

She said the first flu A case diagnosed was a visitor from New Zealand.

In Australia influenza A has caused a massive impact this year where around 35 people have died.

In New Zealand, two died from influenza a month into the flu season, according to Stuff.

Dr May said they would send further specimens for testing if more cases are identified.

She explained that when the flu virus was identified they had to make sure that they differentiated the flu virus from the dengue virus. Therefore, tests are sent to NZ.

Dr May explained that preliminary tests are also conducted at the Rarotonga Hospital.Ssymptoms include fever, a high temperature of around 38 degrees, coughs, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, vomiting and upset stomach.

The incubation period is one to four days and symptoms especially continuouscoughing will begin to show.

Dr May said this is a normal flu but those who are at high risk and could have complications such as death are pregnant women, mothers who have just had a baby recently, those with ongoing medical problems such as chronic asthma, diabetes and obese people and those who are more than 65 years of age.

She said influenza A is worse than the B virus and the best way to prevent this is to practise good hygiene.

She said in 2017 some influenza vaccines were brought in for medical staff and this was subsidised.

This year, Dr May said under the new secretary of health, influenza vaccines are provided for all the health staff to prevent them from getting infected or to spread it to the public.

She said they would later consider the aged people.

She said the vaccines were received two weeks ago and they have begun to immunize their staff.

Meanwhile, home remedies for individuals with a flu are that you must stay home, avoid contact with other people where possible, keep warm and rest, consume plenty of liquids, avoid alcohol, and stop smoking.

Flu vaccines/flu shots are also available at private pharmacies, however one must get advice from a doctor first.