New swine flu cases confirmed in N.W.T., Nunavut
Latest cases involve young people, N.W.T. health officer says
Last Updated: Monday, June 1, 2009 | 2:47 PM ET
Health officials in the Northwest Territories confirmed the territory's first case of swine flu, while Nunavut reported three new cases over the weekend.
The Nunavut cases bring the total number of H1N1 influenza infections to four in the territory. The N.W.T. had not reported any swine flu cases until now.
In the N.W.T. case, a Yellowknife youth contracted the virus but has since recovered.
In the Nunavut cases, confirmed on Saturday, the patients have been flown to Yellowknife and admitted to the pediatrics ward at Stanton Territorial Hospital.
Health officials did not identify the patients, citing privacy concerns. But all the new cases involved young people, said Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s acting chief medical officer.
"None of these cases have travelled outside of Canada, which goes to the shifting pattern of this H1N1 [virus]," Kandola told reporters on Monday.
"Initially, we had the history of contact with Mexico or travelling to Mexico, but what's happened now is we have so many cases in Canada in practically every jursidiction. What we're seeing now is that these cases are being transmitted locally."
Dr. Isaac Sobol, Nunavut's chief medical officer of health, said the officials are ramping up their monitoring of the flu in the territory.
"Now that we have had a few cases identified, I'd like to see a brief period of enhanced surveillance just to see if we pick up any cases which we might not otherwise find," Sobol said.
The extra surveillance will be done on patients at Nunavut hospitals and health centres.
As of Monday afternoon, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported 1,530 lab-confirmed cases of swine flu in nine provinces and all three territories — an increase of 194 cases since Friday.
There have been two deaths related to swine flu in Canada to date, including one in Alberta and one in Ontario.
As the H1N1 influenza virus spreads, Kandola said prevention becomes more important. She urges those who have flu-like symptoms to call the N.W.T.'s Tele-Care Health Line at 1-888-255-1010.
Kandola and Sobol also stressed prevention, asking people to wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick. They should also cover their noses and mouths when they sneeze.