19 May 2009

Rise in Japan swine flu cases not of concern to NZ

4:39 pm on 19 May 2009

New Zealand health authorities are watching closely as the number of swine flu cases rise in Japan, but there are no plans to step up border controls.

Japan on Monday confirmed it had 125 confirmed cases of swine flu, up from seven the day before.

New Zealand's deputy director of public health, Fran McGrath, says there is no indication the virus is spreading in Japan beyond two educational institutions.

Dr McGrath says border control measures in place at present, which include asking passengers if they have flu symptoms, are sufficient, and there is no need to have medical teams meet flights from Japan.

She says the virus is mild, and continues to be contained in this country, with no community spread.

The number of confirmed cases in New Zealand remains at nine, and 10 others are thought to probably have the virus.

The World Health Organisation continues to await evidence of sustained spread of the virus beyond Mexico and the United States before declaring an influenza pandemic has begun.