From US and Mexico, swine flu now spreads to Canada

April 27th, 2009 - 12:41 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, April 27 (IANS) After the US and Mexico, Canada Sunday confirmed six cases of swine flu. The human swine flu outbreak originated in Mexico where 80 people have already died.

The US, where 20 cases with mild symptoms have been confirmed in California, New York, Texas and Kansas, has already declared a medical emergency to deal with the situation.

Many countries have issued advisories to their citizens against travelling to Mexico and the US.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which declared the outbreak to be ‘public health emergency of international concern’ Saturday, said it is re-convening the meeting of its emergency committee Tuesday to decide whether to declare it a pandemic.

Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told the media Sunday that six cases of human swine flu linked to the Mexico outbreak have been confirmed in the country.

While two cases came to light in British Columbia province, four were reported in Nova Scotia province, the health minister said.

However, the swine flu symptoms in all the six cases are “relatively mild and the patients are recovering,” she said.

“These are Canada’s first confirmed cases but… these cases are likely not the last we’ll see in Canada,” she cautioned.

Canada’s chief public health officer David Butler-Jones, who was with the health minister, said, “It is too soon to say where this will lead us. It doesn’t mean we won’t see more severe illness or potentially deaths. That’s why we are paying very close attention.”

Urging people to take precautions, the top health officer said they should wash their hands thoroughly, never cough or sneeze into their hands,always use a hand sanitizer and stay at home if their show symptoms of the flu.

Symptoms of the flu include general fatigue with a feverish body, coughing, a sore throat, body aches, respiratory congestion and possibly vomiting or diarrhoea.

Contracted through direct contact with pigs first, the virus is now spreading through human-to-human contact. It has nothing to do with the consumption of pork, the health official said.

Since there is yet no vaccine against the swine flu, doctors have to depend on the currently available human flu vaccines to deal with the crisis.

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