Mississauga mother Natalie Rea is having some misgivings about about sending her 13-year-old daughter to summer camp this weekend.

“I don’t know. I’m really debating whether I should or not,” she said yesterday,
Rea got a phone call from a councillor at the Olympia Sports Camp in Huntsville yesterday who informed her a camper had tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus and that other children had come down with respiratory infections.

“They said the camper is no longer there and that they cleaned the cabin and that they haven’t had any more confirmed H1N1,” Rea said.

But health officials are urging parents not to keep their children from summer camps, even though there have been some outbreaks of the virus and influenza-like illness at some.

“In general, this has been a mild infection as influenza goes, we are putting in place all these control measures to minimize impact, to minimize the likelihood of outbreaks … and there are a lot of benefits, of course, of going to camp,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The Ontario Ministry of Health has issued guidelines to camps on how to contend with the H1N1 virus. And Gardner said the health unit has issued a screening tool to all camps to help catch any cases. It’s a list of questions about flu-like symptoms that are being asked of incoming campers.

Camps are also being extra vigilant in cleaning and making sure alcohol-based hand rub is available.

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