New Zealand has recorded its first deaths linked to swine flu, with authorities reporting on Saturday that three people who died in the past week had the virus.
It was “strongly probable” that the A(H1N1) virus, which causes swine flu, was a major factor in the deaths of two men, aged 19 and 42, although one had underlying medical conditions, Chief Coroner Neil MacLean said.
The third death involved a young girl with underlying medical conditions who died on Saturday in Wellington Hospital. The regional health board said she had earlier tested positive for swine flu.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said swine flu continued to spread throughout the country but there was no cause for alarm.
The director of public health, Mark Jacobs, said there was no need for New Zealand health authorities to change their management approach at this stage, but vigilance would remain.
“For most New Zealanders, swine flu will be a mild illness, but in some instances, the infection can cause more severe illness and in a few tragic instances, death,” he said.
There were 945 confirmed cases of swine flu in New Zealand.