Canada Takes Further Action to Better Understand the H1N1 Flu Virus

July 23, 2009
For Immediate Release

(OTTAWA) – The Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory Canada is partnering with intensive care units across the country in a study to determine how and why severe illness affects some people after they become infected with H1N1 Influenza, Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones announced today.“The lessons learned from this study will help physicians, intensive care and emergency care specialists prepare for the anticipated wave of pandemic H1N1 in the Fall,” said Minister Aglukkaq.

The study will examine the risk factors for severe infection, including age, weight, gender, underlying diseases, genetic background, and immunization history. It will also probe the reasons why some people become severely ill very quickly, and seek to determine how long a seriously ill person is infectious. To date, four provinces and 12 intensive care units have indicated they will participate in a review of more than 100 cases.

“While the majority of H1N1 cases in Canada have involved mild illness to date, there are a number that are very serious,” said Dr. Butler-Jones. “Many of these serious cases do not fit the typical patterns for influenza, which usually strikes hardest at the elderly or chronically ill. By studying these cases, we expect to be able to develop a document outlining best practices for physicians and intensive care unit specialists,” he said.

For more information on the Canadians response to the H1N1 flu virus, please visit

Media Inquiries:
Josée Bellemare
Office of Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
(613) 941-8189

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