NZ swine flu death toll rises to 10

A 10th person has died of swine flu, the Ministry of Health says.

The latest death was a Gisborne man in his 40s with serious underlying medical conditions.

The two previous deaths were a 56-year-old man in Wellington and a 79-year-old woman in the Hutt Valley last week. Both also had underlying health conditions.

The ministry today said pregnant women with flu symptoms should call their GP or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Overseas, pregnant women had been suffering severe cases of the virus and they were at greater risk of complications, including pneumonia.

Deputy director of public health Darren Hunt said pregnant women should not take any antiviral medication without consulting their doctor.

The doctor would assess the risks of prescribing Tamiflu or Relenza on an individual basis, and may need to seek advice from an infectious diseases specialist or obstetrician.

The total number of confirmed cases of swine flu in New Zealand has risen, with the ministry recording 2107 cases, up from 2025 yesterday.

The Ministry of Health said the actual number of cases would be significantly higher as only a small proportion of people were being tested, as most people were able to recover at home without medical treatment.

On Tuesday, a total of 113 people were in hospital with swine flu or complications stemming from the virus, with 23 of them in intensive care.

The World Health Organisation is no longer issuing tables with confirmed numbers of cases for all countries because of difficulties testing the increasing number of cases.

- NZPA

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