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Updated message on Swine Flu

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Published: 29 Apr 2009

There have been significant developments in the outbreak of swine flu that originated last week in Mexico and which has spread to a number of countries, including Canada.

The number of reported cases in Canada has climbed to 19 – six in British Columbia, two in Alberta, seven in Ontario and four in Nova Scotia, all of them mild and with none reported in Quebec and the World Health Organization on Wednesday afternoon raised its Alert level to 5, the second-highest level on the scale.

What this means is that the organization believes a global outbreak of the disease could be imminent. There is as yet no pandemic, and no cause for panic. The new Alert level means there has been human-to-human spread in at least two countries and it also means efforts to produce a vaccine will be intensified. It is considered a signal to governments to ensure their plans for a possible pandemic are in place.

Human cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain.

As of Monday, April 27, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada 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 Canadian government, McGill cannot allow student travel to Mexico for University-related activities.

More information on the government’s travel advisory can be found at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada or at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

McGill remains in very 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.

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