The Murwillumbah Hospital.
The Murwillumbah Hospital.

Murwillumbah hospital flu rumours 'false'

RUMOURS of swine influenza cases at Murwillumbah District Hospital are unfounded, according to health authorities.

North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) yesterday denied any cases of the disease were present in any Tweed hospital.

Rumours of at least one confirmed case have been circulating around Murwillumbah since the weekend.

“There are no people with swine flu in any North Coast Area hospitals,” a NCAHS spokeswoman said yesterday.

As of yesterday afternoon there were seven confirmed cases of the influenza on the New South Wales North Coast with 16 suspected cases according to NSW Health.

NCAHS would not further elaborate on where North Coast cases were confirmed.

Yesterday afternoon there were 401 confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus in Australia, with 69 in NSW.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday said the government was considering on an hourly basis whether to elevate the nation's response to the disease from a “contain” to “sustain” phase.

“It is inevitable that we will need at some point to consider changing that phase nationally,” Ms Roxon said.

In the “contain” phase, healthy people who have had contact with a swine flu patient are quarantined vol- untarily and given anti-viral drugs for a week.

In the “sustain” phase, quarantining is limited to those who share a home with a confirmed swine flu patient.

Chief medical officer Jim Bishop said people who come down with flu-like symptoms, especially if they have recently travelled to an affected country, are being advised to seek medical advice.

In the future, fit and healthy people may be told to stay at home, and only those in at-risk groups, including respiratory problems and asthma, will be advised to visit their GP.

“A lot of people who have these sorts of symptoms of course will, as this thing progresses, stay at home and not necessarily seek medical advice if in their own case it is a mild infection - and that we expect to see more of,” Dr Bishop said.

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