September 25th letter from Dr. Robert Strang
Click here to read the September 25th letter from Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Public Health Officer, regarding the 2009/10 immunization program.
Departments of Health & Health Promotion and Protection H1N1 Bulletins
Click here to read the latest H1N1 Bulletin released by the Departments of Health & Health Promotion and Protection.
Previous H1N1 bulletins can be viewed here.
August 21 , 2009 - New Advice for H1N1 Care from NS Departments of Health/Health Promotion & Protection
New advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada means most Nova Scotians will no longer have to stay home for seven days if they contract HINI (human swine influenza).
People with HINI should stay home and minimize contact with others until they are: symptom-free, feeling well and able to resume normal day-to-day activities.
"This was determined by a national group of experts and the change comes as we learn more about the disease," said Dr. Maureen Baikie, deputy chief medical officer of health. "The advice around staying home is really a general rule of thumb. It may vary in some settings where people work with vulnerable populations."
The full press release is available here.
June 11, 2009 - Swine Flu Update from Dr. Robert Strang
As you may know, the World Health Organization today declared a Level 6 H1N1 (human swine influenza) pandemic, based on the transmission patterns of this new influenza virus around the world. This simply means the virus has spread to more locations; it does not mean the virus is more severe.
This was not a surprise. We were aware that this might happen, and we are prepared for it.
In Nova Scotia, we have had 79 cases of H1N1 (human swine influenza) to date. In most situations, the cases we’ve seen here in Nova Scotia have been typical flu-like illness, which patients can treat at home. We have had one case, in Capital District Health Authority, which required hospitalization. That patient had a pre-existing medical condition, and is now improving.
We continue, however, to take the virus seriously. We are preparing for the possibility that Nova Scotia might see more cases of H1N1 (human swine influenza), and with greater severity, with more people requiring hospitalization.
In Manitoba and in Nunavut, where numbers of cases continue to increase, a significant number of people from remote communities who’ve been infected with the virus have required hospitalization for severe illness. It is not clear why that’s the case. Regardless, together we need to prepare Nova Scotia’s healthcare system for the possibility that we may see more cases of this virus, and more severe cases. We must also be prepared for the strain that could place on the system.
I would encourage you and your organization(s) to also prepare for the potential that this virus could return with increased frequency and severity. You can do this by ensuring your own business continuity plans are in place and by keeping up-to-date on the most current information.
Please remember that prevention is always the best way to prevent flu-like illness. Please take note of, and share, the following key tips to staying well:
• Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or arm;
• Frequently clean and disinfect common surfaces and items such doorknobs and counters;
• Stay away from public places if you are sick.
Visit www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/cdpc/h1n1-influenza-posters.asp for general handwashing hygiene posters you can post in your office or facility.
Thank you for your support and your cooperation.
Robert Strang MD, MHSc., FRCPC
Chief Public Health Officer
Department of Health Promotion and Protection
Swine Influenza Information
As of April 26th, our call-taking procedure in our EHS Medical Communications Centre was amended to include requests for patient travel history from anyone reporting symptoms of the swine flu virus.
The safety of our Medical First Responders is of paramount importance. If any calls are received at our EHS Medical Communications Centre in which a patient reports symptoms that are consistent with this illness, or if the patient reports that they have potentially been in contact with a carrier of the illness, Medical First Response will not be sent to the call. These calls will be triaged on an incident-by-incident basis with input from senior members of our medical team.
For information pertaining to the swine flu please visit www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/cdpc/swine-influenza.asp.
Public Health Agency of Canada general inquiries hotline: 1-800-454-8302
Swine Flu Q&As from Health Promotion and Protection
The Nova Scotia Department of Health Promotion and Protection has created a swine flu Q&A document (PDF) for health care professionals in our province.
Please visit the HPP website for additional information.