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Swine flu could hit one in five

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posted on May, 26 2009 @ 09:50 PM
Swine flue could hit one in five (Source - NineMSN News)

As many as one in five Australians may contract swine flu as the virus continues to spread rapidly, authorities have warned.

As the national total of confirmed cases exceeded 60, Victoria's acting chief medical officer Rosemary Lester said up to 20 percent of the population could contract the potentially deadly virus over the coming year.

"We have seen this pattern in countries such as the US, Canada and Japan, so next year this may well be the predominant virus,'' she said.

"We would expect that this virus will become one of the seasonal circulating viruses."

Victoria is the worst-hit state with 32 confirmed cases after eight more people were diagnosed with the strain overnight, with the infection penetrating Melbourne's eastern suburbs for the first time.

In NSW, the entire state cabinet has been caught up in a swine flu scare after it emerged Tourism Minister Jodi McKay travelled on a flu-affected flight, then met with colleagues. (Read more: Threat to NSW cabinet)

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon appealed for calm over the outbreak, but warned she expected the number of confirmed cases to rise sharply in the coming days.

She said a vaccine was in the early stages of development, a complicated process which would probably take some months.

"It's why every week that we can delay this disease spreading more widely in the community is buying us more time when we'll have this vaccine to treat it," she said. (Read more: Vaccine 'months away')

Professor Terry Nolan, head of population health at the University of Melbourne, said a vaccine would take time because the virus first had to be grown in a laboratory from an existing sample.

"The vaccines take about three months, perhaps a bit longer, depending on testing," he told ninemsn.

"If the virus is in full circulation, authorities may weigh up the risk versus reward of the testing [and release the vaccine immediately]."

Meanwhile, the Australian Tourism Council has attacked politicians and the media for provoking "hysteria" over the swine flu outbreak. (Read more: Appeal to end 'overreaction')

The council's managing director Matthew Hingerty said businesses were already feeling the pinch as overseas tourists expressed reluctance to come to Australia.

Last night anger mounted over the decision to allow passengers aboard the cruise ship Pacific Dawn to disembark in Sydney, despite dozens of them either reporting flu-like symptoms or saying they had been in contact with people with symptoms. (Read more: Passenger slams 'irresponsible' decision)

But the public should remember that Australian cases of the virus at this stage appeared to be very mild, former University of Adelaide virology professor Chris Burrell said.

"It's looking at the moment that the virulence is no greater than the seasonal flu viruses we get each winter," he told ninemsn.

"But it's a completely new virus and spreading very easily … the whole world is like a virgin population."

posted on May, 26 2009 @ 10:12 PM
I'm really sick of hearing about the swine flu... Can't we just take a break until the fall when we see if it comes back in flu season? please?

posted on May, 26 2009 @ 10:15 PM
It's pretty cold here in Australia already lol. I don't think we will see any deaths in Australia due to this ( except in the rural communities maybe)... I mean , we have free health care, there are TV ads starting tonight letting people know the symptoms and what to do, there are flu clinic's being set up separate from emergency departments to diagnose and help people.

Tho i would like to see the center i work in close, lol, wooooo, 7 day weekend!!


posted on May, 26 2009 @ 10:27 PM
ALERT people we now have statistics!

This Swine flu (Paranoia) is driving me crazy. Until we have actual pandemic cases, we really should not worry. It is all just a media novely that will very soon die off - No pun intended!

posted on May, 26 2009 @ 11:00 PM
LOL we have over 700 confirmed here in Wisconsin (2nd highest in nation) and it barely makes the local news. Nobody has died here though, our steady diet of Beer&Cheese will surely see us through.

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