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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

July 27, 2015

Flu arrives on West Coast

Health officials are urging West Coasters to get their flu vaccination after a recent sharp rise in cases of influenza-like illness.

In the last week sentinel general practices on the West Coast have reported a significant increase in patients presenting with flu-like symptoms. For the first time this season, swabs have been taken from people with flu-like symptoms and influenza viruses have been identified. Both types of virus identified are covered by this year's vaccine.

West Coast Medical Officer of Health Dr Cheryl Brunton says the arrival of flu means it is important people who have not yet had their vaccination get it quickly.

"It takes up to two weeks to develop immunity, so people need to get vaccinated as soon as they can in order to prevent themselves getting influenza and spreading it to others," Dr Brunton says.

Influenza can be a serious illness that is sometimes fatal, and is very different from a common cold.

"A cold virus only affects the nose, throat and the upper chest and lasts for a few days, whereas influenza can be a serious illness that affects the whole body and can last up to a week or more. Influenza can result in hospitalisation and even death," she says.

Influenza vaccinations are free for New Zealanders from a doctor or nurse until the end of August if you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, or have long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma), kidney disease and most cancers.

Even if you do not have one of these conditions, you can still benefit from an influenza immunisation available, at a small cost, from your general practice team or vaccinating pharmacist.

For more information go to: www.fightflu.co.nz.


Lee Harris,
Senior Communications Advisor
West Coast District Health Board
t: +64 27 836 1528

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