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AMA: Swine flu outbreak

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The AMA is working with state and federal health bodies to help ensure doctors are advised of a swine flu breakout that has reportedly impacted on several countries worldwide.

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said that this appears to be a new strain of influenza A virus.

"The World Health Organization has confirmed that there are identified cases in southwest USA, and cases of severe respiratory illness and deaths in Mexico.  The majority of cases have occurred in healthy individuals. This strain has elements of human (H1N1), swine and avian influenza viruses.

"GPs are now on the look out for patients who present with flu like symptoms who have recently travelled to Mexico, the US or Canada.

"People in these circumstances should practice personal hygiene to limit the spread of the flu, and also see their GP  – but it is important that they not become overly concerned. We know that many of the people who have contracted the virus in Mexico and the US have only mild symptoms.   

"The GP will take a careful history of your travels and your symptoms, take a nose and throat swab, advise health authorities if appropriate, and ask patients to stay at home and away from public places until they feel better. Of course, if symptoms become worse, patients should call their GP.

"Government says the virus appears to be sensitive to widely used anti-viral medications such as TamiFlu and Relenza.

"In the meantime there are every day actions people should take to protect themselves and others.

"Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue immediately.

"Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze – alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

"Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

"Avoid close contact with sick people, and if you are sick, stay away from work or school.

"The AMA will continue to work closely with authorities to ensure the best possible care is provided to our patients."

(Source: Australian Medical Association: April 2009)

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Posted On: 28 April, 2009
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


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