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May 19, 2009
For immediate release

Department of Health Broadens Surveillance Efforts for Influenza Like Illness


The PEI Department of Health is broadening surveillance efforts for influenza like illness in Prince Edward Island.

“We continue to monitor the spread of the H1N1 flu virus and are planning for the next stage and future phases of the management of the virus,” said Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Health Officer for the Department of Health. “Our next steps include broadening our surveillance, as we do during the regular influenza season, to determine the extent of the influenza virus in our community.”

“Along with other jurisdictions, the PEI Department of Health will now report influenza cases for the province on a weekly basis, the same way cases are reported during the regular influenza season,” said Dr. Morrison. “We will also monitor any cases of severe respiratory illness in the province.”

The work done by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Lab and the provincial and territorial labs on a case-by-case investigation has been critical to understanding the virus. Data collected to date indicates that the H1N1 virus is behaving similar to the regular seasonal influenza virus. The Department of Health will continue to monitor the spread of the virus in Prince Edward Island to ensure that we are prepared for any future increase in illness associated with the virus.

The total number of laboratory confirmed cases reported in Prince Edward Island remains at three. All cases were mild and those affected have recovered. No new cases of H1N1 flu virus have been confirmed in the province.

The best protection against the H1N1 flu virus and regular seasonal influenza is good hand washing with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Islanders are reminded to cough and sneeze into their arm or sleeve and stay at home if they are sick. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue and occasionally diarrhea and vomiting.

Media Contact: Laura Jones
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