I was on the telephone when I first heard my wife call me.

There was an urgency in her voice that made me finish the conversation and go to her immediately.

She was ill, very ill, and she asked me to take her to the hospital.

I did and the emergency staff at Auckland Hospital quickly admitted her. The worried doctors told me she had pneumonia and, on top of that, they suspected she had swine flu. She was put in quarantine, where she remained for nearly a week. It was later confirmed that she had indeed contracted the H1N1 virus.


Five years later my wife is fit and healthy but looking back on it now, I realise how fortunate we were and how it could have been worse.

One thing's for sure, swine flu is not something to be trifled with.

The news this week that there have been eight confirmed or suspected swine flu cases in Hawke's Bay since February is a concern. There are three people in Hawke's Bay Hospital's intensive care unit, two of whom are confirmed H1N1 cases. One woman is in a coma.

Infectious-disease physician Andrew Burns said the flu season had struck Hawke's Bay early, as June or July was when there were usually cases.

Health officials are encouraging everyone over six months, even healthy adults, to get the flu vaccine to protect themselves.

The district health board is also starting its Come On The Bay Get Immunised campaign to help fight any potential epidemics this year.

My wife and daughters received their flu jabs last week and I will be getting mine shortly.

I would encourage you to do the same.