New Zealand's suspected swine flu cases rise

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 01 2009 11:25 AM | Updated as of May 01 2009 07:25 PM

WELLINGTON - The number of suspected cases of swine flu in New Zealand rose to 136 on Friday, the government said.

The figure was up 25 from the previous day, while the three confirmed and 13 probable cases of the potentially deadly virus were unchanged from Thursday, Health Minister Tony Ryall told a press conference.

New Zealand became one of the first countries outside North America to detect likely swine flu cases after a school group returned from a trip to Mexico last Saturday.

Twelve of the 16 confirmed and probable swine flu cases were members of the high school group which had been on a three-week Spanish language tour in Mexico.

Officials confirmed Friday that a passenger who arrived from North America on April 19 had tested positive for influenza A, which is linked to swine flu. He is one of the 13 probable cases.

"We are involved today in an extensive contact-tracing exercise with his place of work," said Auckland's top medical official, Julia Peters.

Although the traveller arrived on the 19th, he did not start showing flu symptoms until the 22nd and did not visit his doctor until April 28, when he was put into quarantine with his family.