Two years ago, in an interview with Castwest News Service, Health Minister Tony Clement said that Canada must take immediate action on global warming to cope with the threat of new infectious diseases from abroad. Clement noted that diseases such as the West Nile virus are spreading and surviving because Canada's climate is getting hotter. ''There is an increasing threat of other infectious diseases,'' he said. ''Dengue fever is another one that epidemiologists are worried about right now, coming to our shores". He added that his department's pandemic plan will also be renewed shortly to address the risks of avian influenza and other diseases that would not normally be a threat in Canada's climate.
The truth is, global flu makes the threat of terrorism look like a walk in the park on a summer’s day.
In response to cases of swine influenza A(H1N1), reported in Mexico and the United States of America, the Director-General convened a meeting of the Emergency Committee to assess the situation and advise her on appropriate responses. The establishment of the Committee, which is composed of international experts in a variety of disciplines, is in compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005). The first meeting of the Emergency Committee was held on Saturday 25 April 2009.
After reviewing available data on the current situation, Committee members identified a number of gaps in knowledge about the clinical features, epidemiology, and virology of reported cases and the appropriate responses. The Committee advised that answers to several specific questions were needed to facilitate its work. The Committee nevertheless agreed that the current situation constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. Based on this advice, the Director-General has determined that the current events constitute a public health emergency of international concern, under the Regulations. Concerning public health measures, in line with the Regulations the Director-General is recommending, on the advice of the Committee, that all countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.
The Committee further agreed that more information is needed before a decision could be made concerning the appropriateness of the current phase 3.
... World Health Organization
Whenever the Munchkins and I go anywhere, the first thing I insist they do when we come home is to wash their hands, wash their hands, wash their hands. Buy a good scrub brush from Crabtree and Evelyn and scrub the front, backs and under the nails. It sounds obsessive, but it is one of the main ways to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses, and it's amazing how many people don't do it properly. It's not necessary to use antibacterial soaps, just hot soap and water. The rule of thumb ... pun intended ... is to say the alphabet while you wash. By the time you have reached the letter "Z", that should be sufficient.