Message posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009, 4 p.m.
There have been a number of developments in the outbreak of swine flu that originated last week in Mexico and which has spread to a number of countries, including Canada.
Seven more Canadian cases have been reported – two in Alberta, four in Ontario, and one in British Columbia, all of them, like the other six Canadian cases in Nova Scotia and B.C., mild in intensity. No hospitalization has been required. No cases have yet been reported in Quebec.
You should know that as of Monday, April 27, 2009, the Canadian government has recommended that people postpone elective or non-essential travel to Mexico until further notice. Because Mexico is, as a result, now considered a Level 3 country by the federal government, McGill cannot allow student travel to Mexico for University-related activities.
Public health officials around the world are aware of the possibility of a wider pandemic, and the World Health Organization on Monday raised its alert level to 4 from 3. That does not indicate a pandemic, but is a clear signal to take this flu outbreak seriously. McGill remains in close contact with public health officials to make sure we have all the current information available so we can take whatever steps are needed to minimize any effects.
In the meantime, more information about swine flu, including its symptoms and how to help avoid it, can be found on McGill's health site.
It is very important to remember the basic precautions to take with any flu-like illness: wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, try to cough or sneeze into your forearm instead of your hands, and visit a health care professional if you begin to exhibit symptoms of the illness.
If you feel you are ill and should stay home, you should follow normal procedures required for an absence from work or from missing a scheduled exam or class. More information on exam absences is available on the Student Records website.