N.S. on lookout for new swine flu
H3N2 has surfaced in the United States
Dr. Robert Strang said he's had several teleconferences with the Public Health Agency of Canada about the new swine flu called H3N2 since it first appeared in the U.S. last month.
There have been about a dozen cases south of the border, but so far there have been no confirmed cases in Canada.
"But if it does occur, it certainly, right now, it's looking like it's just normal flu-like illness. So there's no increased risk of this type or severity of illness than what we normally see every flu season," Strang said.
Labs in Halifax have the capacity to detect the strain through regular flu tests.
"We have a whole system where we test individuals on a regular basis and in family doctors' offices and emergency rooms. That's part of our normal flu surveillance system that's in place every year," he said.
"That system would detect any new strains of flu that would occur."
Strang said people should not worry, but everyone should practice good hygiene and get the seasonal flu vaccine.
People who receive a flu shots this season are protected against most flu strains, he said. Flu shots are free to all Nova Scotians.
H3N2 is a variation of the H1N1 strain of swine flu that made people sick in Nova Scotia beginning in April 2009. Several people were hospitalized, and at least five people died from the flu.
Symptoms of H3N2 include fever, chills, headache, muscles aches, sneezing, nausea and vomiting.