The H1N1 virus is a new strain of pandemic influenza that emerged in April 2009. Also known as the human swine influenza, it has been reported in 198 countries worldwide and the virus continues to spread. While the majority of cases are relatively mild, H1N1 is still to be taken seriously.
As of September 22, 2009, some 394,000 confirmed cases and 4,300 deaths had been recorded globally. However, due to the widespread nature of the virus, reliable statistics are no longer being gathered. As such, the total number of cases and deaths is expected to be much higher than official reports.
As we move into the fall and winter flu season, the Consulate General of Canada (New York) encourages all Canadians to be vigilant and to take precautions against H1N1 to help them stay healthy and stop the spread of infection. While different than the seasonal flu, the virus is contagious and spreads the same way, so personal hygiene and sanitation practices are paramount.
• Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to eradicate viruses and bacteria. When soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol content.
• Practice good respiratory etiquette by coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or a tissue.
• Keep common area surfaces – like counters and door handles – disinfected. The virus can be picked up on hands and transmitted to the respiratory system when touching one’s mouth and/or nose.
• Get vaccinated against flu, as recommended by your healthcare provider.
• Also, ask your employer, organization or school about pandemic contingency plans, and prepare a contingency plan for your family.
Any questions or concerns about influenza or any other illnesses should be directed to a medical professional. If you do not have a personal physician, you should contact your local public health authorities for a referral.
Note: The Consulate General cannot provide medical advice or medical services, including antiviral medications and vaccines.
Get the Facts on the H1N1 Flu Virus
The Consulate General advises Canadians living in the US to review the guidance provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization or local city/state public health authorities.
Tips for Canadians Travelling Abroad
Persons displaying flu-like symptoms should not travel.
Those planning to travel outside their country of residence should determine if any entry screening is in effect in the destination country to be visited. For further information, consult the Government of Canada’s travel reports and warnings page.
Canadians living or travelling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate. Canadians without internet access may register in person at the Embassy or Consulate closest to them. Registering makes it easier for Embassy or Consulate representatives to contact Canadians in the event of an emergency.
Note: Should Canadian citizens be detained or quarantined in accordance with local public health regulations, the Consulate General is limited in its ability to intervene.
Consulate General of Canada (New York)
Consular Services Section
1251 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue, between 49th and 50th Streets)
New York, NY 10020-1175
Telephone: 212 596 1759 (during business hours)
212 596 1606 (weekend and holiday emergency number)