PEI

1st P.E.I. swine flu cases confirmed

Health officials on P.E.I. have received confirmation of the first cases of swine flu on the Island.

Health officials on P.E.I. have received confirmation of the first cases of swine flu on the Island.

P.E.I. chief health officer Heather Morrison said all the cases of swine flu P.E.I. is dealing with are mild. ((CBC))

Both cases are adult women. One had recently returned from Mexico, and the other was in close contact with a relative who had been to Mexico. Chief health officer Heather Morrison described both cases as mild.

The women were asked to isolate themselves when they first approached health officials, and public health nurses have been checking in with them, most recently on Monday morning.

The number of calls to a special toll-free line for the province is declining, say health officials, and is now at about 50 per day. Future cases on the Island should be confirmed more quickly, as they can be tested at a Halifax lab rather than shipped to the national lab in Winnipeg.

At a media briefing Monday morning, Morrison also said that the province would not close schools if cases of swine flu were confirmed among students. She said so far the disease has caused only mild illness, and provincial policy has to balance social disruption and protecting public health.

The P.E.I. cases come about two weeks after the first reports of the new H1N1 strain were reported in Mexico. There are now more than 1,000 cases reported worldwide, and more than 100 in Canada. Most of those cases are people who recently travelled to Mexico.

The World Health Organization has currently set its pandemic alert at the second-highest level. WHO director general Margaret Chan told the UN General Assembly there was "no indication" that the outbreak is similar to a pandemic in 1918 that killed tens of millions of people around the world.

now