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Euro Surveill. 2009 Aug 27;14(34). pii: 19319.

Pandemic influenza A(H1N1)v in New Zealand: the experience from April to August 2009.

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University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand.


Following the detection of imported cases of pandemic influenza A(H1N1)v on 25 April 2009, New Zealand implemented containment measures that appeared to slow establishment of the pandemic during May. The pandemic accelerated markedly in June, reaching a peak within four to six weeks, and has been declining since mid-July. By 23 August there had been 3,179 recorded cases (97.8% reported as confirmed), including 972 hospitalisations, 114 intensive care admissions, and 16 deaths. Influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance in general practice suggests that 7.5% (95% CI: 3.4-11.2) of the population of New Zealand had symptomatic infection, giving a case fatality ratio of 0.005%. Hospitalisations were markedly higher for Māori (age standardised relative risk (RR)=3.0, 95% CI: 2.9-3.2) and Pacific peoples (RR=6.7, 95% CI: 6.2-7.1) compared with Europeans and others. The apparent decline of the pandemic (shown by all surveillance systems) cannot be fully explained. New Zealand remains in the middle of its traditional influenza season, the influenza A(H1N1)v virus appears relatively infectious, and we estimate that only about 11% of the population have been infected by this novel agent.

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