Canada uses Facebook and Youtube to spread consciousness on swine flu

Saturday, May 2, 2009

TORONTO - Seventeen new cases of human swine flu took the Canadian total to 51 Friday even as the government launched a Citizen Readiness Campaign to check the spread of the virus. As part of the nation-wide campaign, the government is putting advertisements in dailies and weeklies May 2 and May 4 to raise public awareness about flu infection.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is using Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and others social networking tools to reach out to the Canadians to give them tips.

‘It is one of many measures we are taking to protect the health of Canadians at this time,” said health minister Leona Aglukkaq.

‘Our goal is to give Canadians advice on how to avoid the flu and on what to do if they already have symptoms,” she said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said health officials were keeping a close watch on H1N1 flu cases and dealing effectively with the outbreak.

Of the new 17 cases reported Friday, four came to light in the Toronto area where authorities are extra-vigilant after the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak that claimed 44 lives. All the Canadian cases - which have been linked to visits to Mexico - have shown only mild symptoms so far.

Expecting more cases, Canada’s chief public health officer David Butler-Jones said so far ‘we continue to see mild cases and full recovery… ‘But as we’ve been saying, the more surveillance we conduct, the more we look, the more cases we are likely to find. Severity will vary and we might see deaths as we do with every seasonal flu.”

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