Tue, May 26, 2009
Lifestyle > Health > 2009 A/H1N1 Flu outbreak

Australia condemns fake A/H1N1 flu posters as toll rises

2009-05-26 05:36:09 GMT2009-05-26 13:36:09 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CANBERRA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Government condemned unauthorized A/H1N1 flu alert posters on Tuesday, saying it was hampering the government's efforts to manage the spread of the disease.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said Tuesday she had received reports that fake posters, purporting to be from the Department of Health and Ageing and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had appeared in New South Wales recently.

The posters claim particular areas in Australia are A/H1N1 flu affected, but Roxon said the public should be aware that the virus does not exist in specific public spaces and was passed on through human and animal contact.

"Obviously these are not official government communications," Roxon told reporters in Canberra.

Roxon said she did not know who was behind the recent posters but her department was not looking to prosecute the distributors yet, saying it was "too early".

Last week false A/H1N1 flu alert billboards also appeared in Sydney and Melbourne as part of a publicity stunt for the new series of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) hit show, The Chaser's War on Everything.

In a related development, a 32-year-old woman and her eight-year-old daughter from Clifton Hill in Melbourne's inner north were two of the latest cases, bringing Australia's number of confirmed A/H1N1 cases to 25, with more expected. Roxon said 55 people were being tested for the virus around the country.

Five schools around the country have been closed in response to the disease; whilst new measures such as using health declaration cards on all docking cruise ships and keeping children who had traveled to A/H1N1 affected countries away from school have been introduced.

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