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NSW: Two more swine flu cases from cruise ship =3D2

26 May 2009 3:15 PM

NSW Health officials are in contact with these passengers to provide advice and to arrange free distribution of Tamiflu to passengers with symptoms.

The two new cases bring the number of swine flu victims from this ship to four, after two young boys tested positive on Monday.

"What is of concern is mapping whether it was spread from those children to other members of the crew or other passengers on the ship," Dr Chant said.

The testing delayed the vessel's departure on Monday and the other 1,800 disembarking passengers were asked to stay at home or in their hotels for up to seven days.

Responding to passengers' complaints they were not told of the swine flu cases on board, Dr Chant defended the health department's response.

She said authorities had only received confirmation of swine flu cases at 6pm (AEST) on Monday, after passengers had disembarked and were allowed to go home.

The ship had not visited any affected countries before arriving in Sydney and the first two victims had not recently travelled overseas, she said.

Carnival Australia chief executive officer Ann Sherry said there had been no request for the cruise to be cancelled or to avoid Queensland ports, and the ship was now headed for the Great Barrier Reef.

Onboard cleaning procedures had been stepped up, and all crew members were given Tamiflu, with high-contact areas like the spa to remain closed for 24 hours while the drugs kicked in.

"I'm confident this is an environment that is in fact getting more attention than the environment most of us are operating in," she told reporters in Sydney.

Ms Sherry said 14 crew members from the previous cruise were in quarantine, but she would not comment on the infected crew member, except to say the person did not work in child care or in the kitchen.

"It's a difficult circumstance because it is evolving every day," she said.

"We, like other travel companies, are learning each day of new protocols and new ways of doing things."

Earlier on Tuesday, it was revealed four more people who arrived on a Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Sydney had tested positive to swine flu.

NSW health authorities are trying to contact other passengers from that flight.

The total number of swine flu victims in NSW, including the cruise ship and QF12 cases, is now 10, NSW Health said in a statement.