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Queensland authorities search for seven amid -

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Reporter: Nicole Butler

PETER CAVE: Influenza experts are warning that it's inevitable that swine flu will reach Australia
- but they can't predict the scale of the outbreak.

A conference on the illness is being held in France today - but most doctors say it's far too early
to tell whether there will be a global pandemic.

Meanwhile in Queensland, authorities are searching for seven people who've been exposed to the
porcine virus.

They're spread throughout the state - after being on board a flight with a New Zealand school group
that's tested positive.

From Brisbane, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: Just days after news of swine flu hit the headlines in Australia; Queensland
authorities are desperately trying to contact seven people who've been exposed to the deadly
disease.

They were all on board a flight from the Americas with a New Zealand school group that has since
tested positive for the illness.

Queensland's chief health officer Jeanette Young says authorities know who the seven people are but
they are still trying to contact them.

JEANETTE YOUNG: Those seven patients that were on that flight with those children and teachers who
now have been confirmed as having the swine influenza are being followed up here as we speak in
Queensland.

We will contact them by phone. We will then find out the best way to go and visit them, to get them
to an emergency department or get them to their GP because as you know, Queensland is an enormous
state and these people could be anywhere.

NICOLE BUTLER: In fact, Dr Young says she knows the seven potential patients are spread throughout
the length and breadth of Queensland.

JEANETTE YOUNG: If they have any symptoms at all we will swab them and we will start them on
Tamiflu. Tamiflu is very important in this whole process and we are very fortunate that we have
large supplies of Tamiflu available.

NICOLE BUTLER: There have been reports of pharmacists on Queensland's Gold Coast running out of
Tamiflu but Dr Young says there's no need for that to happen.

She says Australia as a whole is well-stocked with the drug.

JEANETTE YOUNG: There is no doubt about that in this country. So anyone who has symptoms, that we
think could be possibly due to swine flu, we will be starting them on Tamiflu.

For a couple of reasons; one, it is very important that that person has it because it reduces
complications and although we are getting confused information out of Mexico and the United States,
it is very clear that the people who are dying from this, are dying from complications.

So if we can prevent those complications, we are doing the best thing for that person.

NICOLE BUTLER: Queensland's chief health officer says Tamiflu also stops the amount of virus a
patient excretes.

JEANETTE YOUNG: So that means they are less infective to other people. So that is what New Zealand
is currently doing with those people who have been confirmed. They are stopping those people from
spreading that infection onto other people.

NICOLE BUTLER: Dr Young says the World Health Organization and the Commonwealth will decide if
Australian authorities need to treat planes that come from New Zealand any differently now.

JEANETTE YOUNG: We are immediately ready to respond to when they make those decisions; but the
virus is not circulating in New Zealand at this point. It is being brought into the country through
someone who has contracted the disease overseas.

There has not been any human-to-human transmission in New Zealand; so that is different to Mexico,
to Canada and to the United States which is where we are very concerned about people coming from
those nations who might then have flu.

NICOLE BUTLER: This morning health authorities assessed three people who arrived at the Brisbane
airport from Los Angeles. But they were deemed not to have swine flu.

Queensland has the highest number of suspected cases in Australia so far.

JEANETTE YOUNG: We now have 27 cases that we are still investigating and those tests will continue
today; so at the end of today, we will know about those 27 but more will have come in.

NICOLE BUTLER: Even since The World Today spoke to Dr Young, that number has risen. There are now
31 suspected cases in Queensland. In Victoria, Commonwealth health officials say there is 19 cases
being investigated, but state officials say there are none.

In South Australia there are 14 suspected cases. New South Wales has 10 and the ACT has six.

Eight people could be infected in Western Australia, two in Tasmania and one person in the Northern
Territory.

PETER CAVE: Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young ending that report. In fact it was
Nicole Butler ending that report. Before her Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeanette Young.