Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

April 28, 2009 17:10 ET

Government of Canada Provides Update on Prevention Measures Being Taken Regarding Swine Flu

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 28, 2009) - Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones today provided an update to Canadians on further actions that have been taken by the Government of Canada in the management of the swine flu outbreak. The federal government continues to work closely with the provinces and territories and international partners to protect the health and safety of Canadians.

The Government of Alberta has confirmed two cases, the Government of Ontario has confirmed four cases and the Government of British Columbia has confirmed one additional case of human swine influenza in each of their provinces. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Canada to 13, with four cases from Nova Scotia and two cases from British Columbia announced previously. All cases are the same strain of human swine influenza that has been found in the U.S. and Mexico. To date, all of the confirmed cases in Canada have been mild.

"Today's new cases were anticipated by public health officials and they do not change our course of action," said Minister Aglukkaq. "We recognize that the Canadian cases have been mild to date, but we are taking this situation very seriously. An enormous amount of work is being done by health officials throughout the country to monitor the situation, plan for the future, and make the best decisions possible for the health of Canadians."

"In Canada, we are well-positioned to deal with this. We are following our national plan and working to mitigate the effects of a possible pandemic," said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. "That said, we have decided to move ahead with a travel health warning for Mexico recommending against non-essential travel to that country."

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a travel health warning yesterday that recommends Canadians postpone non-essential travel to Mexico. Travellers arriving from Mexico are receiving information bulletins with health advice and are being screened for illness by border officers.

Canadians are encouraged to access updated information on swine flu through the Public Health Agency of Canada's website, www.phac-aspc.gc.ca or by calling 1-800-454-8302.



BACKGROUND ON GOVERNMENT ACTIONS

The Government of Canada is taking action on a number of fronts, including:

- Public Information:

- A travel health warning has been issued advising Canadians to postpone non-essential travel to Mexico;

- Frequently asked questions have been posted to the Public Health Agency of Canada website www.phac.gc.ca;

- A 1-800 information line, namely 1-800-454-8302, is available seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) where Canadians can get more information;

- An information bulletin with health advice is being distributed to incoming travellers to Canada to remind them of simple health precautions; and

- Public health guidance documents are being provided to health care professionals.

- Monitoring and Coordination:

- The Government's Emergency Operations Centre has been elevated to full activation (Level 4), operating 24 hours a day and seven days a week;

- Daily coordination and information sharing conference calls are being held with provincial and territorial public health authorities and international partners; and,

- Officials remain vigilant in screening and reporting of unusual influenza-like illnesses, particularly in travellers returning from Mexico.

- Laboratory Testing:

- Provincial and territorial laboratories have been asked to send any unidentifiable influenza viruses and samples from patients with severe respiratory illnesses to Canada's National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, which is now operating 24 hours a day and seven days a week

The Public Health Agency advises Canadians to:

- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer

- Cough and sneeze in your arm or sleeve

- Keep doing what you normally do, but stay home if sick

- Check the www.fightflu.ca for more information

- Check www.voyage.gc.ca for travel notices and advisories

- Talk to a health professional if you experience flu-like symptoms

Also available in french.

Contact Information

  • Public Health Agency of Canada
    Andrew McDermott
    Media Relations
    613-941-8189