FIJI, PNG STEP UP SWINE FLU AWARENESS EFFORTS

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Both countries have confirmed cases

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 22, 2009) – Fiji’s Ministry of Health says there’s no need to panic after the confirmation swine flu is in the country.

Tests done in Suva showed positive results for swine influenza for two Nadi residents who had recently been in Australia.

The Ministry’s Dr Josiah Samuela says the two men are in isolation and are taking the anti-viral drug, Tamiflu.

Mr Samuela says they have stepped up their public awareness and have a response plan in place.

"Our health facilities are geared towards putting emphasis on screening practices at the general outpatients department in terms of separating potentially infected people from the general outpatients; making sure that mild cases can be managed, and isolated at home and giving advice on travel etc, " said Dr. Samuela.

Papua New Guinea is stepping up its swine flu response after it confirmed its first case late last week.

A young Port Moresby adult has since been treated with the anti-viral medication, Tamiflu, and has now been released from quarantine.

Five people are still in isolation with suspected swine flu and are receiving treatment, with test results due back from Melbourne later this week.

The medical society’s president, Dr Mathias Sapuri, says they are doing all they can to try and limit the spread of the virus.

"The process of the step up of clinical surveillance in the country has been picked up by most health facilities throughout the country now. We’re taking swabs and are making clinical judgements on swine flu, to get on to the Tamiflu treatment."

Mathias Sapuri says health staff are also visiting the provinces to bring medication and test kits to them, and to help with their preparedness.

Solomon Islands has been cleared of swine flu after results of the first suspected case returned negative.

One person had been ill after returning from a visit in Australia and had been in isolation.

Our correspondent, Richard Toke reports:

"There was one person who ended up in hospital where he’s been put under strict surveillance for the last couple of days while tests have been sent off to Australia. They have proved negative."

Richard Toke says there are no other suspected cases in the country, but health officials have stepped up their preparedness.

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