Health

First H1N1 deaths in New Brunswick (09/11/13)

NB 1809

Nov. 13, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - Two deaths connected to the H1N1 virus in New Brunswick were announced today by the Department of Health. The first death was that of a man in his early 60s. The second was that of a man in his 70s. Testing has confirmed that the individuals had the H1N1 virus.

Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer of health, confirmed that the individuals had an underlying condition that increased their risk of complications from influenza.

"Our great sympathies go out to the individuals' families for their loss," said Health Minister Mary Schryer. "These deaths associated with H1N1 virus highlight just how important it is for all of us to be vigilant and protect ourselves and others."

Cleary said the Department of Health had always anticipated more severe cases involving hospitalization and even death as the regular flu season continued.

She added that the department will continue to implement its plan to deal with the H1N1 virus, which includes heightened surveillance as well as support and guidance to the health sector and to New Brunswickers.

New Brunswickers should continue to protect themselves and those around them by washing hands frequently, coughing or sneezing into their sleeve, keeping common surfaces clean, staying at home if sick, and availing themselves of vaccination in priority order.

People who are at high risk of complications from flu-like illness should seek medical attention promptly. Those at risk include pregnant women, people with underlying medical conditions such as chronic bronchitis or those with compromised immune systems.

Persons with flu-like symptoms should stay home and minimize contact with family members as much as possible. If symptoms worsen, they should visit their health-care provider, a walk-in clinic or the nearest hospital emergency department.

Special flu assessment centres have been set up in some areas already experiencing high traffic in their emergency rooms from persons with flu-like symptoms. Regional health authorities are operating the centres and are advertising them locally.

It is important for New Brunswickers to understand that if they do not have flu-like symptoms, it is safe to go to work and school, participate in activities and to socialize.

More information about the H1N1 virus may be found online or by telephoning the 24-hour flu line, 1-800-580-0038.

09/11/13

MEDIA CONTACT: flumedia@gnb.ca; Danielle Phillips, H1N1 communications, Department of Health, 506-444-3821

09/11/13