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Swine flu: Despite 66 deaths, no panic in Canada

Last Updated: Monday, August 17, 2009 - 10:12

Toronto: Despite 66 deaths from the H1N1 flu till date, the Canadian public has shown no palpable signs of panic as being witnessed in India.
No Celine Dion or Shania Twain has gone on streets wearing a mask to warn people about the flu.

After introducing screening for those returning from Mexico and issuing guidelines to health workers and public, Canadians have gone quietly about their job of combating the flu.

There have been no signs of masks on city streets here. People are taking the epidemic in their stride as even a normal summer flu season in this country claims more than 4,000 lives each year.

The swine flu came to Canada reportedly through a farm worker who returned after holidaying in Mexico in April.

Since then, the government machinery has been on top of the situation, with International Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz assuring at the time of outbreak that "all levels of government are working together to protect the health of families in Canada and around the world".

Most of the flu deaths occurred between May and July, with Ontario and Quebec provinces accounting for 21 each.

Heath Minister Leona Aglukkaq now says, "There is no evidence to suggest that the virus has become stronger".

Last week, she placed orders for 50.4 million doses of vaccine to be available for the winter flu season.

Canadian Medical Association president Ann Doig, however, has a little warning about a possible resurgence of the virus this winter.

Clearly, the Canadians have learnt their lessons from the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003 which caught them off-guard and claimed 44 lives in the Toronto area.


First Published: Monday, August 17, 2009 - 10:12
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