1 Jul 2009

Swine flu patient was apparently well beforehand

10:18 pm on 1 July 2009

A young woman in Hawke's Bay regional hospital appears likely to be the first apparently well person to be hospitalised as a result of swine flu. She is critically ill.

Non-urgent surgery is being postponed to help the board cope with an influx of patients with flu-related acute respiratory illness.

The board says patient privacy prevents it saying whether the critically ill woman has underlying health issues, but Radio New Zealand's health correspondent understands she was previously healthy.

Another woman, in her 30s, remains critical but stable in intensive care in Wellington but she has underlying health problems, including obesity and respiratory problems.

Health experts say regular flu harms a small number of well people every year.

Rising cases of flu in general have caused an influx of cases of respiratory illness in Hawke's Bay.

In addition to the critically ill woman, 30 adults and two children are in hospital with acute respiratory illness.

Three of the adults are so severe they are in the intensive care high dependency unit.

Non-urgent inpatient surgery's been postponed and there are restrictions on visitors to the ward.

The Ministry of Health says 711 cases of swine flu have been confirmed on Wednesday.