Admitting the province is already facing a pandemic, Alberta’s chief medical officer said they are well prepared to weather an outbreak if influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu, hits hard this fall.
Dr. Andre Corriveau, Alberta’s chief medical officer, and Dr. Richard Musto, Calgary medical officer of health, held a press conference yesterday in Calgary to discuss the province’s response plan to the virus, which has already affected at least 1,648 people and killed seven across Alberta.
“We’re readier than we have ever been and still polishing things up … in my view, there is a lot of encouraging information. There has been no major shift in the virus so far since March,” Corriveau told reporters.
“Still, to us, this is an influenza virus that is behaving pretty much the same as all the other influenza viruses, the main difference being this is a novel virus.”
But Musto added people don’t take influenza viruses seriously enough and should wash their hands properly and follow the proper health guidelines.
“Influenza happens every year and these things should be part of the new norm. We should take influenza seriously because it does kill people every year,” Musto said.
The province expects H1N1 vaccinations to be ready by mid-November. Clinical tests have not yet been conducted in Canada, but Musto said they are getting underway in the United States and Australia.