30 Mar 2009

NZ helps Tokelau cope with flu-like outbreak

7:25 pm on 30 March 2009

New Zealand health authorities are working with Tokelau's officials to manage an influenza-like outbreak affecting more than one in every ten people on the country's three atolls.

Tokelau has about 1500 residents spread over three atolls, and around 150 people heve reported ill with influenza.

The New Zealand ministry of health says the school on Atafu, the northern-most atoll, has been closed, public gatherings halted, sick people advised to stay home and hand washing messages reinforced.

Wellington public health services and Capital and Coast Health have been working with the New Zealand's Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation, providing advice and additional health supplies such as vaccines, which along with antiviral supplies, will be shipped to Tokelau on the overnight boat trip from Samoa.

The Wellington-based Office of the Administrator of Tokelau is also actively involved with coordination and support.

Nursing support from Wellington has also been offered to Tokelau.