Health Advisory: Human Swine Influenza

As of April 30, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) has upgraded the Phase of Pandemic Alert to Phase 5, that means that there are more H1N1 Influenza A outbreaks in more than two countries of the world now.The WHO has also officially changed the name of the ‘swine flu’ to the “H1N1 Influenza A”. The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada – First Nations & Inuit Health will follow suit as well.

To date there have been 8 reported cases in Ontario of the H1N1 Influenza A. The Ontario Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Mr. David Williams states that all of the 8 cases remain mild and individuals are recovering at home (http://www.news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2009/04/one-new-confirmed-case-of-human-swine-flu-in-ontario.html).

In order to ensure consistent communications to all First Nations communities, a conference call was held today with NAN, First Nations & Inuit Health – Ontario Region (FNIH-OR), the Chiefs of Ontario (COO), and PTO representatives. As a result of today’s conference calls, the most important points to note were:

o there has been no reported cases involving First Nations
o Canada has not declared a Pandemic Emergency
o Communications to all First Nations communities will occur via fax from First Nations & Inuit Health – Ontario Region (Health Canada)
o Advisories, fact sheets and other relevant information and resources are available for the public at the Ontario First Nations Pandemic website http://pandemic.knet.ca/

To ensure consistent communications of updates and issues, conference calls between NAN, FNIH-OR, COO and PTO representatives will occur on a weekly basis. From these conference calls, NAN will continue to provide updates to its member First Nations communities on the NAN website.

NAN encourages its member First Nations to continue preventative measures to protect yourself and your family, by: washing hands thoroughly with soap and water, using hand sanitizer, cough and sneeze in your arm of sleeve, and receiving an annual flu shot. Keep doing what you normally do; however if you are sick, stay home. Talk to your community nurse/health professional if you experience severe flu-like symptoms.

A communiqué from Valerie Gideon, Regional Director – FNIH-OR (Health Canada) has been sent out to all First Nations communities, dated April 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm.

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