Published Tuesday 25 Jun 2019

A reminder to notify RPH if you suspect an outbreak of influenza in your facility.

The following information was sent to schools and early childhood centres in the greater Wellington region today:

Tēnā koe

Several schools and early child education centres (ECCs) in the greater Wellington region have had influenza outbreaks. The outbreaks have resulted in up to 30% absenteeism on the worst days, which is disruptive and stressful for families and affected schools/centres.

This is a reminder to schools to notify Regional Public Health on 04 570 9002 if you suspect an outbreak of influenza in your facility.

How to recognise an outbreak:

(Schools) An outbreak is defined: Three or more cases (staff or child) exhibiting symptoms of illness in 48 hours in a class or 15% of the school is unwell.

(ECCs) An outbreak is defined: Three or more cases (staff or child) exhibiting symptoms of illness in 48 hours or 15% of the centre or a classroom unwell.

Influenza (flu) is a virus that spreads quickly from person to person. It can be spread through the air by coughing and sneezing as well as by hands, cups and other objects that have been in contact with an infected person’s mouth or nose.

The following information will help reduce the spread of influenza and assist your school:

  1. Make sure everyone covers their mouth and nose with tissues when coughing and sneezing.
  2. Make sure students (and staff) with symptoms stay at home until they are well and free of symptoms.
  3. Encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly. Put handwashing posters on noticeboards and in bathrooms.
  4. Clean surfaces that are touched often (door handles, bench tops, toilets bathroom areas).
  5. Notify Regional Public Health when you suspect an outbreak.

Attached is an information sheet to share with parents and your local community.

Please visit the Regional Public Health website www.rph.org.nz/influenza-education (and http://www.rph.org.nz/public-health-topics/early-childhood-centres/current-illnesses/influenza/) for more information, downloadable posters, illness log template and further links to Ministry of Health resources.

Nga mihi nui

Dr Annette Nesdale

Medical Officer of Health

Regional Public Health