Rudd says Australia has one of the largest per capita stockpiles of anti-viral drugs tamiflu and Relenza, as the number of suspected swine flu cases across the country rose to 23.
*No cases confirmed in Australia
*23 suspected cases across the country
*Ten in New South Wales
*Ten in Queensland
*Three in Tasmania
*Queensland activates pandemic plan
*NSW activates pandemic plan
*Mexico likely death toll rises to 152
The PM said the government would use all its resources to combat the growing threat of swine flu.
Meanwhile, the number of people being tested for suspected swine flu in NSW has risen to 10, NSW Health says. Ten other people are being tested in Queensland and three in Tasmania.
NSW activates pandemic plan
Four Sydney residents and one person from the Central Coast are being tested for suspected swine flu, but two of those people have now been cleared.
However, more suspected cases of swine flu have since emerged to bring the current total to 10 across the state, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant told reporters.
“These people would have been to Mexico, the US or Canada and obviously we are monitoring their situations closely,” she said.
Dr Chant said the test results for those 10 people should be available within 24 hours. She said like other states, NSW had activated its pandemic plan, and the 10 people with suspected swine flu were being given Tamiflu and had been urged to remain at home.
Three of the suspected cases are in the northern Sydney/Central Coast area, with three others in Sydney\’s west, two in the Hunter and New England region and one each in the state\’s south and west.
Premier Nathan Rees said it was important to stress there were no confirmed cases of swine influenza in NSW.
The nation\’s chief medical officer will brief federal cabinet later today on the status of the swine flu outbreak overseas.
“This is a serious international concern for public health,” he told reporters in Canberra.
The Australian Health Protection Committee was monitoring developments overseas and was advising the government on what steps were needed to minimise the disease\’s impact locally.
Chief Medical Officer Jim Bishop will brief cabinet on the current status around the world, Mr Rudd said.
Already, airlines servicing Australia from the Americas are required to report any passengers with flu-like symptoms before being cleared to land at local airports.
Nurses have been stationed at international airports to detect and treat anyone suspected of carrying the virus.
Death toll rises to 152 in Mexico
While there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Australia yet, swine flu is thought to have claimed the lives of 152 people in Mexico.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has activated the state\’s pandemic plan after 16 people presented with suspected cases of the disease. However, six of those including Qantas airline passengers from Los Angeles – have been cleared.
Three being tested in Tasmania
Three people in Tasmania are now being tested for swine flu, but authorities say they probably don\’t have the disease.
Another ten people with suspected swine flu are undergoing tests in NSW and three Victorian tourists recently returned from North America were cleared of the virus overnight.
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