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Government of Canada is Working Closely with Provinces and Territories and International Partners to Address Swine Flu

April 26, 2009

OTTAWA – Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones today assured Canadians that the federal government is working closely with the provinces and territories and international partners to protect the health and safety of Canadians, following confirmation of the first cases of human swine influenza in Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada′s National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg has confirmed four cases of A, H1N1 swine flu from Nova Scotia. The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control identified two additional cases from British Columbia. All six cases are same strain of human swine influenza that has been found in the U.S. and Mexico. These first cases were detected as a result of the increased surveillance the federal government initiated with the provinces and territories and health professionals given concerns over the spread of swine flu in Mexico and the United States.

"The federal government will continue to monitor the situation closely to detect any illness as early as possible and ensure Canadians are protected. I have been in frequent contact with my counterparts in the provinces and territories. I′m having discussions regularly with our international partners, including the World Health Organization, officials from Health and Human Services in the United States, as well as the Mexican health minister," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Although we are relieved to hear that the Canadians who have been diagnosed with swine influenza exhibited mild symptoms, we will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation closely."

The Government of Canada is working in close co-ordination with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mexican Department of Health, the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization and other partners. Two Canadian epidemiologists are in Mexico, assisting with testing at that country′s request.

"Canada′s public health system has worked quickly to identify and confirm these cases," said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada′s Chief Public Health Officer. "Canada is well-positioned to deal with this issue. We have a national plan for emerging disease outbreaks and we are following it."

There are simple measures to minimize the risk of being infected. These steps include simply washing your hands, controlling coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, and talking to a health professional if you experience flu-like symptoms.

Minister Aglukkaq re-iterated that federal officials will continue to update Canadians with accurate information at regular intervals over the coming days and weeks.

For more information contact:
Andrew McDermott
Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
Phone: 613-941-8189

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