Alberta Continues To Monitor H1N1 Flu Virus

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As the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated a global pandemic is underway by raising its alert level to Phase 6, Alberta is working closely with other provinces and territories and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor H1N1 influenza activity.

“We have known for some time that this virus was spreading around the world, just as any flu virus is capable of doing, so it is no surprise that the World Health Organization has raised its alert level to Phase 6,” said Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Andre Corriveau. “The Phase 6 designation is not indicative of how severe this disease is. It is a measure of where and how widespread the new virus has gone around the world. The level of risk to the general public remains low."

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Alberta’s Plan for Pandemic Influenza, developed by Alberta Health and Wellness and the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, is in place to deal with a pandemic. It will be used in co-ordination with municipal plans, Alberta Health Services’ plans, and the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector, prepared by a partnership of federal, provincial and territorial governments.

The goal of Alberta’s plan is to reduce illness and death due to influenza and minimize disruptions to the daily life of Albertans. It is a work in progress, and will be updated and added to as the situation changes.

“The Phase 6 designation in no way changes the level of preparedness this province already has in place,” said Dr. Corriveau. “Our preparations are going well, and Albertans should continue with their day-to-day activities, while exercising every precaution to avoid transmission of the virus.”

The WHO classification of Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region, as well as at least one other country in a different WHO region.

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