Author(s): R J Hall, M P Peacey, J C Ralston, J Bocacao, M Ziki
Since the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on 12 June 2009, New Zealand has seen a surge in the number of cases of pandemic influenza A(H1N1)v. As of 16 July 2009, there have been 2,107 laboratory-confirmed cases in New Zealand and 10 deaths; the actual number of infections is certainly much higher. Like other southern hemisphere countries with a temperate climate, New Zealand entered the winter period with seasonal influenza activity. The national influenza surveillance system detected co-circulation of pandemic A(H1N1)v virus and seasonal influenza strains. Infection with pandemic A(H1N1)v has rapidly outnumbered seasonal influenza viruses within just a month . The current recommended antiviral drug for treatment of pandemic A(H1N1)v is the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir (Tamiflu®). Oseltamivir has been used in New Zealand to limit entry and spread of the virus since an initial incursion on 26 April 2009, for the treatment of quarantined cases and as prophylaxis for close contacts during the containment phase, and now mainly for the treatment of cases during the management phase.