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January 22, 2009
For immediate release

The Influenza Virus Officially Arrives on Prince Edward Island


Over the past week, four cases of laboratory confirmed influenza illness, or the flu, were diagnosed on Prince Edward Island.

Patients with confirmed cases are between the ages of eight and 24 years. Symptoms of the flu include headache, fever, cough and aching in the muscles and joints. Influenza is commonly diagnosed on PEI around Christmas, but last year it arrived later than usual, in February.

“No major outbreaks of the flu have been reported on the Island so far this year,” said Dr. Lamont Sweet, Deputy Chief Health Officer for Prince Edward Island. “The virus can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours and spreads rapidly from person to person, usually by coughing or sneezing. Therefore, hand-washing is extremely important to help prevent the spread of the virus.”

Immunization to prevent the flu is available annually during the fall months. This year the Prince Edward Island Department of Health sent out 45,000 doses of flu vaccine, an increase of 3,000 doses over the number for the previous year.

Media Contact: Maureen Flanagan-LeClair
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