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Spike in influenza like illnesses no concern to authorities

Wednesday 26 April 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Health, National


Spike in influenza like illnesses  no concern to authorities

A spike in influenza like illnesses does not appear to have authorities concerned as a date for the rollout of vaccines has been confirmed by Te Marae Ora.

Figures supplied by director of Hospital Health Services, Doctor Yin Yin May, in the absence of Secretary of Health Bob Williams, show 67 influenza like illnesses were reported to Te Marae Ora last month.

It was confirmed there have been five cases of influenza to date since January 1, 2023, but historical figures were not available for comparative reporting.

This month to April 24, 36 influenza like illnesses have been recorded in the electronic patient system, 27 in February, and 26 in January.   

Dr May said influenza vaccines for 2023 will be in country on May 5 and Public Health will be providing vaccination to the public as per TMO eligibility criteria.

She said the last week of April or May is usually when Te Marae Ora receives influenza vaccines from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Dr May said there are no concerns at this stage and staff are monitoring the situation daily.

The recent increase follows another spike in influenza last year which put pressure on staffing resources.

In July, Cook Islands News was made aware of people being sent away from the outpatient clinic in Tupapa and asked to come back the next day due to insufficient staff.

At the time Secretary of Health Bob Williams acknowledged there was a genuine issue.

The long wait was expected as many people were getting infected by flu.

TMO increased the triage room at the Tupapa Primary Care from one to two – increasing the nursing staff by an extra nurse, and while short of doctors and nurses, an extra doctor was brought in to cater for the increase.