May 8, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Government officials continue to prepare for all likelihoods as the H1N1 virus continues to spread at a steady pace, New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Eilish Cleary, said in a news conference today.
While no new cases of H1N1 have been confirmed in the province, Cleary said that it is still too early to know exactly how the situation will evolve.
"While it may seem that right now the outbreak is slowing, both here and worldwide, we cannot be complacent," said Cleary. "The situation could evolve in a number of different ways over the coming weeks and months. It is therefore important for people to remain aware of what's going on.
"The province continues to communicate with health professionals, key stakeholders, and critical infrastructure owners and operators. We want to make sure that public and private organizations that we all depend on have the right information and are taking appropriate steps to prepare, just as government is."
Government officials continue to prepare for all eventualities, including the possibility that the World Health Organization (WHO) could raise its alert level to 6, signifying a global pandemic.
"The WHO's alert levels are an indication of the spread of the virus, not its severity," Cleary said. "The decision to raise to a Level 6 rests with the WHO, but that does not necessarily mean that the virus itself will change. The disease could remain mild; however, more severe illness and even deaths remain a possibility."
The province is launching a radio and print awareness campaign on Monday, May 11, and people are encouraged to visit www.gnb.ca/flu to remain informed about the virus and the situation.
A toll-free line has also been set up in order to provide public information on H1N1 Influenza A. The number is 1-800-580-0038, and is available 24-7.
MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Carrière, Department of Health, 506-453-2536; firstname.lastname@example.org.