Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Health Risks Played Down; Large Public Events Become Breeding Ground for Spread of Swine Flu

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Health Risks Played Down; Large Public Events Become Breeding Ground for Spread of Swine Flu

Article excerpt

Byline: peter weekes peter.weekes@northernstar.com.au

FOR Kate Smith, of Sydney, Splendour in the Grass was a chance to catch up with her old school friends and see a few good bands.

However, soon after Ms Smith, 20, and her four friends returned home they were diagnosed with swine flu.

"We got it at Splendour," said Ms Smith, who is now in quarantine in her Sydney flat.

"We hadn't all got together for a couple of months, so we must have got it there."

They are not the only ones to have contracted the potentially deadly virus at the festival.

Although the NSW Health Department no longer keeps a tally of those diagnosed by their GPs, The Northern Star has been told of many cases directly linked to the festival.

As a different crowd flocks to the Byron Writers Festival later this week, there are concerns it too will become a breeding ground for the flu strain.

However, North Coast Area Health Service director of public health Paul Corben yesterday played down any threat.

He said despite early fears based on the number of flu-related deaths in Mexico, the virus had turned out to be mild and, in most cases, no threat to lives. …

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