Canada Reports First Fatality Associated With H1N1 Flu

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Federal Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq today expressed sympathy following the announcement by the Government of Alberta of Canada’s first death associated with H1N1 flu virus.

“First and foremost, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the woman who passed away recently,” said Minister Aglukkaq.

It is not clear what role the H1N1 virus played in the fatality, however, the Government of Canada has noted since the outset of the outbreak that serious illness and death could be expected.

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“It is important to realize that different strains of influenza result in about 4,000 Canadian deaths a year,” said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. “We must take all influenza – not just the current strain – seriously, and take measures to protect ourselves.”

Today’s case count includes 28 new cases reported by British Columbia (6), Alberta (9), Ontario (5), Quebec (4) and Nova Scotia (3) and Prince Edward Island (1) bringing the Canadian total to 242.

Canadians are reminded to take basic precautions to avoid the flu. Steps to take to reduce the chances of becoming infected from H1N1 flu virus:

* Wash your hands often and thoroughly or use hand sanitizer;
* Cough and sneeze in your arm, not your hand;
* Keep common surfaces and items clean and disinfected; and
* Stay home if you’re sick, unless directed to seek medical care.

The Government of Canada remains committed to efforts to address the H1N1 flu virus, including working closely with provinces, territories, health professionals across the country and our international partners to minimize the impact of this outbreak on Canadians.

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