Has swine flu arrived in Coolum?

There were facemasks covering mouths, gloves on hands and disinfectant being sprayed everywhere when Alan Hubbard walked into his doctor’s surgery on Tuesday.

With a sly grin he cracked a joke to the receptionist at Coolum Beach 7 Day Doctors: “Swine flu, eh?”

“Looks like it,” she replied grimly.

Alan took his seat in the waiting room as two people, a man and woman, were led around the outside of the building.

They were wearing facemasks and gloves, as were the medical staff with them.

A few minutes later the clinic’s receptionist made an announcement to those in the waiting room: “There’s no need to worry.’’

“We’re just taking precautions.”

On Wednesday a four-year-old boy from Nambour was confirmed as Queensland’s eighth swine flu case, and the sixth from the Pacific Dawn cruise ship which docked in Sydney on Monday.

The boy’s mother, who also had flu-like symptoms, had travelled with him on the ship.

About 170 passengers who travelled on the ship indicated on their health declaration cards they had flu-like symptoms or been in contact with someone who had.

Mystery surrounds the possible swine flu cases at Coolum Beach.

Doctors at the clinic were tight-lipped about the incident, saying they could not comment because of patient confidentiality.

A spokesman from Queensland Health said there had been speculation that a Sunshine Coast couple, one of whom was a nurse, had also been on the Pacific Dawn.


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