An Air New Zealand plane from Japan landed this morning at Auckland International Airport with 73 passengers suffering flu-like symptoms. The plane landed from Tokyo at 9.20am 13/2/12
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said they were following public health procedures and had advised the Auckland Regional Public Health Service.
A Counties Manukau District Health Board manager said all hospitals were “contingency planning” in case they were required to take passengers.
Japan is currently experiencing a major flu epidemic. News agencies report that by February 5, more than 2.1 million people in Japan had the flu. That had jumped by 380,000 cases on the previous week. Data shows that most patients tested were found to have been infected by the A strain of the virus, known in Japan as the “Hong Kong” strain.
This scares me. You cannot see it,it has no smell. It will spread via air. Someone will get on an airplane feeling unwell and when that plane arrives at its destination, the virus will spread to new hosts.
China has reported that a man died in southern China on Sunday from the H5N1 bird flu virus, the Health Ministry reported. It was China’s second such death in less than a month.
The latest victim, an unidentified 39-year-old, fell ill on Jan. 6 and was admitted to a hospital in Guizhou Province the same day, the Health Ministry said in a statement reported by Xinhua, the official news agency.
A 39-year-old bus driver in Shenzhen, a city in Guangdong Province near Hong Kong, died a week before
Both deaths were notable because neither victim reported any contact with birds in the month preceding his illness. The virus is known to spread through contract with infected birds, eggs or bird feces, but experts said a pandemic could occur were it to mutate into a form that was more easily spread.
In the latest case, the victim “did not report obvious exposure history to poultry before the onset of symptoms,” according to the bulletin from Hong Kong. But the Chinese authorities, who are monitoring 71 people known to have been in contact with the victim, have found no other evidence of flu, the ministry reported.
People who were in contact with the Shenzhen victim also have remained symptom-free, leading some experts to conclude that neither case involved transmission among humans. On Sunday, Chinese censors generally blocked Internet users from reading reports of the latest death.
Worldwide, bird flu has killed 343 of the 582 people who are known to have been infected, according to the World Health Organization, including 28 of the 42 infected Chinese victims. With the world’s largest poultry population, and close contact between birds and people in rural areas, China is regarded as a major breeding ground for the disease.
Vietnam has reported 60 deaths, including that of an 18-year-old duck farmer last week. A victim in Indonesia also recently died.