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Swine flu count leaps to 143 in Nunavut

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  • Swine flu count leaps to 143 in Nunavut

    Swine flu count leaps to 143 in Nunavut

    Federal epidemologists asked to investigate outbreak

    Last Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2009 | 4:30 PM CT Comments0Recommend2

    CBC News

    Officials said 47 new cases of swine flu were confirmed in Nunavut on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections from the H1N1 influenza virus to 143.
    Significant outbreaks of swine flu are reported in several communities in the western and central parts of the territory, health officials sated in a release Thursday afternoon.
    As a result, the territory's Health Department has asked the Public Health Agency of Canada to send two field epidemiologists to Nunavut to help investigate the outbreak.
    Nunavut's flu count jumps
    The number of new swine flu cases jumped throughout this week in Nunavut:
    • Monday: 19 new cases
    • Tuesday: 28 more cases
    • Wednesday: 43 more cases
    • Thursday: 47 more cases
    Nunavut's confirmed swine flu total rose from six cases before Monday's announcement to 143 cases as of Thursday.

    The department has also sent extra doctors and nurses to affected communities.
    About 60 per cent of swine flu cases come from communities in the Kitikmeot region, in the western part of the territory. The remaining 40 per cent are in the Kivalliq region, in central Nunavut.
    Health officials have not identified specific communities that have swine flu outbreaks, saying earlier this week there is "no public health reason" to do so.
    While most of the 143 Nunavummiut with swine flu have recovered or are recovering at home, a total of 10 people have been hospitalized with the H1N1 influenza A virus, three more than on Wednesday. Eight of the patients have since been released from hospital, officials say.
    As well, several other patients are hospitalized with flu-like conditions while officials await laboratory test results. Those patients report having pre-existing medical conditions, officials said.
    Earlier Thursday, the World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert level for swine flu to Phase 6, the highest level. It means the H1N1 virus is spreading from person to person in a sustained manner in at least two geographic regions.
    The UN health organization's declaration sends a signal to governments around the world to spend more on containing the virus and to drugmakers to speed up work on a swine flu vaccine.
    However, it does not necessarily mean the virus is causing more severe illnesses or deaths.
    "The move by the WHO to Phase 6 does not change Nunavut's current response to the diagnosis, treatment, infection control or public health measures of the H1N1 flu virus," the territorial Health Department stated in the release.
    The department added that it will be activating Level 6 of its own pandemic influenza plan, known as the PanFlu plan.