Human Swine Influenza

- April 29, 2009

There are currently a number of individuals in Windsor Nova Scotia exhibiting flu-like symptoms following a visit to Mexico. The symptoms exhibited thus far by these individuals are minor compared to the Mexican experience but appear to be related to the same cause. Two additional cases have been discovered in Alberta, four in Ontario and three in British Columbia.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a travel warning recommending the postponement of any non-essential travel to Mexico. Travellers from Mexico are being screened for illness.

Since there is the possibility that human swine influenza may present a significant health issue for our community, the University recommends the following common sense precautions for our faculty, staff and students.

  • Individuals who have recently traveled to Mexico and/or are exhibiting influenza-like symptoms should seek medical assistance.
  • Individuals are encouraged to take everyday preventive actions. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners and sanitizers are also effective. (See: The Importance of Handwashing)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who appears sick.
  • If you become ill, stay home from work or school, and limit contact with others.

The Office of Environmental Health and Safety will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates as the situation develops.

Regularly updated links to further information on this issue include:

Public Health Agency of Canada: Human Swine Influenza | Travel Health Notices

Health Canada: Diseases and Conditions

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Swine Flu and You

Ray Ilson is the director of Dalhousie's Office of Environmental Health & Safety.


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