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BC planning for new outbreak of swine flu

The B.C. government says it has a new pandemic plan in place, and doesn't plan to close schools even if H1N1 swine flu returns this fall.

A news release quotes provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall:

"We don’t expect that individual school closures, community-wide closures or provincewide closures will be useful in controlling the spread and impact of the H1N1 flu virus.

"Closures early last spring were initiated out of an abundance of caution because we had very little information on the novel flu virus at that time. It has since become apparent that the disease caused by this virus is generally mild and does not warrant such severe measures."

The news release also quotes Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid:

"The Ministry of Education has developed a pandemic response framework and it will be in place for the first day of school to support operational decision-making during any pandemic."

"The framework will also provide guidance to public and independent schools and will be available to the First Nations education system."

In addition, the release provides a link to the provincial government's H1N1 page, which offers influenza news and advice.

Elsewhere, Brazil reported its 503rd H1N1 death, Peru announced 18 more deaths today, and a new scientific report estimates H1N1 is 100 times more virulent than seasonal flu.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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