3,000 under swine flu quarantine Down Under
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA; June 1, 2009 -- Health authorities watching the speread of swine flu have wondered what would happen during the Southern Hemisphere flu season. They are getting some answers now.
The number of H1N1 cases in Australia is climbing quickly.
3-thousand people are now in quarantine, after a big increase in cases in the last 24 hours.
Nicola Roxon, the country's health minister says, "We have our chief medical officer assessing hour by hour or day by day."
The South Morang Lions Football Club in Melbourne canceled its weekened games after 5 team members were diagnosed.
But the federal government says the virus isn't widespread enough to shut down public transport and major public events.
Dr. Jeannette Young, of the Queensland Health Office says, "I know they're struggling down there. They're continuing to do absolutely everything they can to contain it, but it is becoming more difficult for them."
To treat the sick, more flu clinics have opened around the country.
"There is no reason for particular alarm but we do know this disease will continue to spread more widely throughout the community, " says Roxon.
In the state of New South Wales, 12-hundred people are in quarantine. The growing number of people being diagnosed is causing problems.
Two patients with the virus were asked to leave a hotel for the safety of the other guests.
The industry says hotels are not hospitals.
"We're not expected to house people who subsequently show this disease and they are not expected to be hospitals," said Greg Evans of the Australia Chamber of Commerce.
Most of the latest cases are passengers from the cruise ship Pacific Dawn.
Dr. Joanna Hickey, a general practitioner, says, "As we continue to test and screen people those who for example may not be well may need medical treatment. We don't know that at this stage. There's no reason to believe they do."
When the ship arrived in Brisbane on Saturday, all passengers and crew were ordered quarantined at their homes, in Brisbane, or on the ship for 7 days.
The Australian pharmaceutical company C-S-L says a vaccine could be ready within 8 weeks.
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