Four cases of swine flu have been confirmed at a Nova Scotia school, among the first instances of the potentially deadly disease reported in Canada.
“It is a cluster of flu that we’ve been following at King’s Edgehill school (near Windsor),” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer, said Sunday. “There is no reason for the Windsor community or Nova Scotians to be overly concerned.”
Students returning from an early April school trip to Mexico became mildly ill but did not report it. Two of the four currently ill students, aged 12 to 18, had been in Mexico but likely contracted swine flu upon returning to Canada.
“One of the challenges with this illness is that it has been so mild, many of the students can’t tell us for certain if they were sick,” said Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Capital Health medical officer. About 25 students have been sick but most are better and the rest are recovering. None have been hospitalized.
“We have to remember that all the people we’re seeing with swine flu in the United States and Canada are mildly ill,” Strang added.
Mexican officials have confirmed 20 deaths from the virus, but warned the toll could be as high as 81. British Columbia announced two mild cases of the flu also Sunday.
“In Canada and the United States, it’s demonstrating only mild illness, but because it’s a new strain, there are a lot of unanswered questions and we need to take it seriously,” Strang said. “If people have a travel history to an affected area and they are sick, they should stay at home and phone their doctor.”
King’s-Edgehill headmaster Joe Seagram later told reporters 17 students and four staff members are in quarantine. He also said classes will continue as usual, but for now, community activities on campus will be curtailed.