Sunday, April 26, 2009

swine flu reaches nova scotia

nova scotia reported canada's first cases of swing flu today, with four students from kings edgehill in windsor confirmed as having the flu. BC soon followed with similar cases.

dr robert strang, ns's top health official, stressed they are mild cases not requiring hospital treatment. i'm pasting my metro article in below, followed by some spiked notes:

By Jon Tattrie
For Metro Halifax
Four cases of swine flu have been confirmed at a Nova Scotian school, among the first instances of the potentially deadly disease reported in Canada.
“It is a cluster of flu that we’ve been following at King’s Edgehill school (near Windsor),” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer, said yesterday. “There is no reason for the Windsor community or Nova Scotians to be overly concerned.”
Students returning from an early April school trip to Mexico became mildly ill but did not report it. Two of the four currently ill students, aged 12 to 18, had been in Mexico but likely contracted swine flu upon returning to Canada.
The affected students will be held in isolation for the duration of the disease’s seven-day incubation period.
“One of the challenges with this illness is that it has been so mild, many of the students can’t tell us for certain if they were sick,” said Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Capital Health medical officer. About 25 students have been sick but most are better and the rest are recovering. None have been hospitalized.
“We have to remember that all the people we’re seeing with swine flu in the United States and Canada are mildly ill,” Strang added.
Mexican officials have confirmed 20 deaths from the virus, but warned the toll could be as high as 81. B.C. announced two mild cases of the flu yesterday.
“In Canada and the United States, it’s demonstrating only mild illness, but because it’s a new strain, there are a lot of unanswered questions and we need to take it seriously,” said Strang. “If people have a travel history to an affected area and they are sick, they should stay at home and phone their doctor.”
The rest of us should wash our hands regularly and cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze.

strang took questions after the press conference. the press pack was a little giddy by this point. one journo wondered if all people returning from mexico should place themselves in isolation and another asked strang what his 'biggest fear' was about the situation. 'what's the worst possible thing you could imagine happening?'

all of our eyes locked on strang, pens at the ready, visions of 28 Days Later dancing in our fervent brains.

'i'm not going to speculate. i don't have fear about this. it's something we need to pay attention to and we are doing that,' he said.

so it the official word is it looks worrisome, but not alarming. no reports of steve murphy hailing our new swine flu overlords yet.


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