UPDATE RE: H1N1 Influenza A Virus


TO: NAN First Nations, Tribal Councils and NAN Members
FROM: Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler
UPDATE RE: H1N1 Influenza A Virus
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In response to a news story released by the Winnipeg Free Press “Suspected H1N1 flu outbreak hits reserve”, NAN would like to re-affirm that although there are seven community members of the St. Theresa Point First Nation presenting with flu like symptoms, these cases have NOT been confirmed as the H1N1 Influenza A virus.NAN is working closely with the Regional Community Medicine Specialist from the First Nations and Inuit Health, Ontario Region (FNIH-OR), Health Canada office to address this issue. I spoke directly with Chief David McDougall of St. Theresa Point First Nation, Manitoba this afternoon via conference call. I offered support to Chief McDougall and the St. Theresa Point First Nation community members on behalf of NAN. Chief McDougall stated that part of St. Theresa Point First Nation’s community action involves advising community members of the following: encouraging infection control practices, recommending minimizing inter community travel and congregating in large groups. Chief McDougall stated he will keep NAN informed via communications with myself.

I also spoke with Dr. Geoff Dunkley, Community Medicine Specialist, with FNIH-OR, Health Canada. Dr. Dunkley reported that they are actively investigating and testing all potential cases of Influenza A, not just the H1N1 virus. Because of the severity of the cases in St. Theresa Point First Nation, it is likely that these are not H1N1 cases as H1N1 cases are usually mild.

NAN will continually provide regular updates to its member First Nations communities via the NAN website. NAN would also encourage its First Nations community members to talk to their CHN, and to continue visiting the Ontario First Nations Pandemic website for updated information:

http://pandemic.knet.ca/. FNIH-OR (Health Canada) Communiqués from Valerie Gideon, Regional Director will continue to be sent out to all First Nations communities regularly.

Please call Sarah Perrault, Public Health Policy Analyst if you have any concerns or questions at 807 625 4913 (direct line)
or you may email her at sperrault@nan.on.ca.

NAN encourages its member First Nations to continue infection control 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 health nurse/health professional if you experience severe flu‐like symptoms.

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