New Zealand is preparing for a second round with a potentially deadly flu strain now sweeping North America. About 20 children have died from influenza in the United States as the H3N2 strain puts thousands of people in hospital during the northern hemisphere winter. About 7.3 per cent of all deaths in the US last week are believed to be related to influenza and pneumonia.
National Influenza Specialist Group virologist Lance Jennings, of Christchurch, said from an influenza conference in the US that there was a ”lot of concern” there about the virus, which had caused widespread infection across 47 states. However, the deadly strain hit New Zealanders last winter. ”New Zealand has been exposed to this virus already. It’s not a new virus,” he said.