London resident tests positive for H1N1

London and area hospitals and health clinics are taking no chances when it comes down to the recent H1N1 flu (or more commonly known as Swine flu) outbreak.

The first positive case in the London area of H1N1 Flu virus announced May 6 involving a city resident was reported by the Middlesex-London Health Unit during a news conference.

The unidentified 40-year-old man, who recently returned from Mexico, is the first positive case in London. The name of individual has not been released for privacy concerns.

Hospitals such as the London Health Science Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care and the Fowler Kennedy Clinic at the Fanshawe Student Union building have asked patients who exhibit flu like symptoms to refrain from entering the premises without a proper face mask.

“Fanshawe College is monitoring the Swine Flu situation carefully and is in close communication with the Middlesex-London Health Unit…preventative measures that reduce the risk of contracting the flu include frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizers with at least 70 per cent alcohol, washing surfaces, and covering coughs and sneezes,” wrote Leanne Perreualt, the Manager of Corporate Communications at Fanshawe in an email sent out to all staff.

The now worldwide scare originated in Mexico, but has spread to other parts of the world from those who have recently visited Mexico.

The Middlesex Health Unit has systems in place related to the now level five H1N1 flu panic.

No one other than the one person in London or Middlesex County has been diagnosed as having the new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1, but a small number of other individuals remain under close observation, they stressed.

Health officials at the Fowler Kennedy Clinic at Fanshawe urge students and staff to wear protective masks and routinely cleanse their environments to avoid becoming ill.

While one London resident has tested positive for the H1N1 virus there is no evidence of widespread infection in the London area reassured the Health Unit.

“This is just an unusual occurrence of infection. We are watching to see what will happen over the next few weeks, to see how it evolves,” said Dr. Bryna Warshawsky, the Middlesex- London Health Unit's associate medical officer of health.

Residents who have recently traveled to Mexico, Texas or California and developed H1N1 flu symptoms are urged to make an appointment with their family practitioner for a full screening to avoid spreading the virus to any individual that may come in contact with an infected person.

H1N1 flu is to be treated as a regular flu, suggested the Health Unit.

Patients are urged to call their family physician prior to visiting an office where other patients may be present in the waiting area. Symptoms include the following: fever, headache, cough, sore muscles, joint pains, diarrhea and vomiting (noted in some cases) - all these symptoms occur within approximately seven days of their return following their trip.

Persons who appear to have the above symptoms are encouraged to maintain good hygiene, which includes proper hand washing techniques with soap and hot water. When sneezing and coughing, be sure to cover your mouth with an elbow or a tissue and never with your hand.

Refrain from going to work or school if you are sick to avoid spreading the illness to others and be sure to cleanse your environment routinely.

The World Health Organization stated the number of global cases stands at 1,085 from 21 countries, including 26 deaths.

As of last Monday new cases of H1N1 included 10 persons in British Columbia, 18 in Ontario, one of which included a four-year old child, one individual in New Brunswick and two confirmed cases in Prince Edward Island.

The first severe case of H1N1 flu was reported in Edmonton when a young girl was admitted to hospital after suffering flu-like symptoms. She is now listed in stable condition and recovering in hospital under close observation.

A 21-month-old toddler has died as a result of the H1N1 flu in Houston, Texas making it the first death in the United States related to the H1N1 flu virus.

Twenty countries have also banned imports of pork as of last Monday in response to H1N1 flu scare, despite their being no evidence that a person could contract the flu virus from eating pork products.

The Global trade in Pork products is worth about $26 billion annually.