Government of Canada Takes Further Measures to Help Reduce H1N1 Transmission in Communities
OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Sept. 10, 2009 – Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq today announced further measures that the Government of Canada is taking to provide Canadians with the information they need to protect themselves against the H1N1 flu virus.This week, the Government of Canada will launch radio ads to remind people to practice regular infection prevention behaviours — wash your hands, cough and sneeze into your arm, keep common surfaces clean and, if you have symptoms of the flu, stay at home to avoid infecting others. The ads will start to air on radio stations across the country on September 14, 2009, for four weeks. They are available at www.fightflu.ca Ads tailored to reach First Nations and Inuit populations will also roll out in those communities next week.
“We all have a role to play to prevent the spread of the virus when the fall flu season arrives,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “The messages may not be new, but they are important reminders to help us all protect ourselves from the H1N1 flu virus.”
First and foremost, it is crucial for individuals, communities and organizations to be aware of the risks of H1N1 flu virus, and to take appropriate steps to decrease risks as much as possible.
Today, the Public Health Agency of Canada also released two new guidance documents with recommendations and considerations for Canadians:
– Public Health Guidance for the Prevention and Management of Influenza-Like-Illness Related to Mass Gatherings
– Individual and Community-Based Measure to Help Prevent Transmission of Influenza-Like- Illness in the Community
“There is no need at this time to cancel mass gatherings like worship services, festivals, or sports events, but simple measures can be taken to help control the risk of spreading H1N1 flu virus,” said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.
Communities, businesses, organizations and event organizers should ensure that there are adequate handwashing stations and hand sanitizers for the public and that there is signage to remind people of the H1N1 flu virus and proper handwashing technique. Increased hygiene measures, like disinfecting commonly touched surfaces (keyboards, handrails, doorknobs, etc) should also be implemented. Public education about staying home when sick and when to seek medical care is crucial in the control of virus outbreaks.
Organizers of large-scale events should consider the capacity of the host community to respond if there is an outbreak of H1N1 flu virus, and the capacity of the community to respond to a second emergency in light of current healthcare and infrastructure demands to respond to H1N1.
These recommendations and the launch of the radio ads build on the comprehensive public communications approach the Public Health Agency of Canada has used since April 2009 to deliver important information to Canadians.
These activities have included print ads in daily and community newspapers, in-transit ads on buses and subways, posters, information shared on Facebook and Twitter, regular website updates and frequent media briefings, as well as a number of guidance documents prepared for healthcare workers and community organizations.
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For more information, please contact
Office of Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada