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Fed: Chief medico says Australian swine flu cases fairly mild

24 May 2009 2:30 AM

Australia's chief medical health officer says our authorities have been able to slow down the spread of swine flu until last week .. giving medical experts time to learn more about the virus .. and finding it's relatively mild .. with a nasty sting to it for some.

Chief medical officer JIM BISHOP says it's now understood the virus seems to be relatively mild .. but has a nasty side to it by hitting in particular young people .. pregnant women and people with breathing illnesses.

The number of confirmed cases reached 14 yesterday after a 15 year old Victorian boy was found to have the virus .. and after the federal government raised the alert level for swine flu to containment stage on Friday.

This means the government can distribute millions of doses of tamiflu and relenza medicine if needed .. and can trace contacts of people with the disease .. and shut down schools and events.

Meanwhile .. tests in Sydney cleared four people yesterday of the disease .. who had arrived on a cruise ship carrying almost three-thousand people.

Health authorities had been concerned because of reported flu cases on the ship which had come from Hawaii .. and several people having flue symptoms.

All passengers and crew were put under quarantine for several hours .. but have since been allowed to move on.