17 Jun 2009

WHO warns that Pacific especially vulnerable to swine flu

9:21 am on 17 June 2009

The World Health Organisation warns the Pacific is one of the most vulnerable areas for swine flu.

This comes after Samoa has confirmed its first swine flu case today in a group of Australian students.

The students have been in quarantine since last week and those who have been sick have been treated with the antiviral drug, Tamiflu.

Papua New Guinea has suspected cases, and there are also reports that the virus may have reached Solomon Islands.

A medical officer at the World Health Organisation, Dr. Jacob Kool, says swine flu can spread rapidly, especially so in the Pacific.

"The Pacific Island countries are the most vulnerable countries in the world for influenza, we know that from previous pandemics. Our recommendation to countries is to, they can do screening, but they should take care not to spend all their resources on that. The more important things are to be ready for when it's in the country."

Jacob Kool says it's important that surveillance is at an optimal level.