First severe swine flu case in Canada, total 140 (Lead)

May 5th, 2009 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, May 5 (IANS) Canada reported 41 more cases of swine flu virus, taking the total to 140. In the country’s first severe case of the flu, a young girl in Edmonton was rushed to hospital with acute illness.
“Up until now, we have been reporting that all confirmed cases in Canada have been relatively mild, and that all have made a full recovery. However, the news of this first severe case, although disconcerting, is not surprising, and it does not change the course of action that we’re taking,” said Canada’s top health officer David Butler-Jones.

He added: “As we have been saying, our heightened surveillance will uncover more and more cases, with varying levels of severity. This case underscores a couple of things about influenza: it has few boundaries; it doesn’t respect borders; it often doesn’t respect age.”

The health official said heightened public health surveillance is likely to uncover more cases.

Amid the regular seasonal flu, he said “it is important we stay informed about this outbreak, and that we all take steps on an individual level to reduce the risk of infection”.

Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the government was monitoring new cases in Canada and around the world “in close cooperation with domestic and international partners”.

Meanwhile, many countries, including China, have banned imports of pork from Canada after 220 pigs with the flu were quarantined on a farm in Alberta province. These animals contracted the virus from a Canadian man who had just returned from Mexico.

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