May 7, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is an opinion piece written by Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer of health, Department of Health:
FREDERICTON (CNB) - I know that many New Brunswickers are concerned about the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, both here and abroad. As New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, I can assure you that we are prepared to respond.
New Brunswick has been planning for a flu pandemic for several years, and it has a comprehensive system in place to address a pandemic, should one occur.
It is important to note that, by definition, a pandemic flu spreads quickly worldwide, but it is not necessarily severe. While we are prepared to respond to the worst situation, a declaration of a pandemic does not necessarily mean the worst.
Provincial pandemic preparations are being carried out in collaboration with other provincial and territorial public health agencies, as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada, which is working with its international partners.
Built into pandemic planning is the ability to adapt to a changing situation so that the Government of New Brunswick and other governments are able to protect their residents.
The goal of this planning is to minimize serious illness, death, and societal disruption among New Brunswickers and all Canadians.
It is recommended that businesses and other organizations now ensure that their pandemic plans are up-to-date and ready to implement.
One of the lessons that public health agencies learned from the SARS experience was the need for all public health agencies and providers to work in concert to provide factual and timely information to the public during an outbreak.
In New Brunswick, we will continue to do that through:
Some of the other pandemic preparedness measures that we have already taken include:
Working together, we are ensuring that New Brunswickers are protected and provided with essential factual and timely information.
Dr. Eilish Cleary,
Chief Medical Officer of Health