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H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu)

Chief Health Officer Alerts

The Chief Health Officer has issued an alert for H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu), with information for GPs, hospital emergency departments, laboratories and the general public.

Introduction

Human cases of a new form of influenza virus have been identified in a broad spread of countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia. The pandemic alert level has been raised by the World Health Organization from phase 4 to phase 5. The Australian Government pandemic alert remains however in the delay phase.

There have beenmany confirmed cases of H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Influenza) in Australia.

These include a nine year-old boy and two of his brothers who all returned from the USA on 12 May 2009, and a 54 year-old Mexican tourist, who is in quarantine with her partner and son. All cases are all being treated with anti-viral medication. No Victorian cases of H1N1 Influenza 09 have required hospitalization for the infection. The majority of cases outside Mexico are still being reported as mild illness only. The virus is a type of influenza A virus that is usually seen in pigs (Swine Influenza). Treatment is available through your GP or a hospital.

What should I do?

Where to get help-General public

Call the Swine Influenza Hotline Tel. 180 2007 for general information for the public and people returning from Mexico, the USA or Canada.
Nurse-on-Call Tel. 1300 606 024 if you have flu like symptoms and for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days).

Health professionals

Contact our Communicable Disease Prevention & Control Unit by:

Phone: 1300 651 160
After hours paging service: 1300 790 733.

How should I protect myself?

Good health hygiene practices can greatly reduce the chance you will get the flu or pass it on to others.

If you have the flu, you should avoid public places and close contact with others, especially children.

Is it safe to eat pork and pork meat products?

Yes, even in those countries experiencing an outbreak. The World Health Organization advises that Swine Influenza has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating pork and pork meat products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to temperatures of 70C/160F kills the influenza virus.

Information sourced: www.health.vic.gov.au