Canada confirms six cases of swine flu

Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:20pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Hodgson and Allan Dowd

TORONTO/VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada reported its first confirmed cases of swine flu on Sunday at opposite ends of the country, including two in the western province of British Columbia and four in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia.

Health officials in both provinces said all the cases involved only mild illness, and the people either contracted the virus because they had recently traveled to Mexico or had contact with someone who had been there.

Even so, Canadian health officials urged people to take precautions such as frequent hand washing and said they would take whatever actions are necessary to protect the public.

"The swine flu symptoms seen in Canada have thankfully been relatively mild and the patients are recovering," Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told a media briefing.

"As we continue to ramp up our surveillance efforts, these cases are likely not the last we'll see in Canada."

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, and Alberta both said they had no confirmed cases.

Millions of Mexicans stayed indoors to avoid a virus that has already killed up to 81 people there and new infections in the United States fanned fears of a global swine flu pandemic.

Mexico is a popular winter vacation spot for Canadians, but there were signs this was being hurt. Air Canada said it was waiving the fees charged to people who want to delay trips to Mexico before the end of April.   Continued...

<p>Students play on the grounds of King's-Edgehill school in Windsor, Nova Scotia April 26, 2009. REUTERS/Paul Darrow</p>