​Dear Colleagues,

In speaking with Dr. Susy Hota about the progression of the H1N1 Influenza A virus in Canada, she believes that the number of cases being reported is rising because the results of tests that were carried out in the past weeks are now coming back.  It seems that virtually all cases are mild and, when people are experiencing more severe symptoms, it is also reported that they have an underlying condition which makes them more susceptible to flu.

I am detecting a weariness with this story in the media and the rather odd perception that, since the disease only appears to be a mild flu, that everyone has overreacted.  Given that flu virus excels at mutation and that we had no knowledge of how this strain would affect people, I'd rather be accused of overreacting than taking a 'wait and see' approach and then discover that we had been insufficiently prepared.

I'm very happy to let everyone know that our colleagues whose tests came back positive for H1N1 flu are all doing well at home and will be back to work as soon as they are cleared by Occupational Health and Safety.  We attracted a lot of media attention by letting you all know that we had had staff members with this flu and I am sure that it caused some concern for our patients.  I'd like to thank everyone for helping our patients understand that they were at no greater risk within UHN than they are out in the community.  I am certain that timely information is the best medicine when it comes to dealing with the unknown.  We will continue to update the organization on this flu and UHN's preparations to work with this flu. 

I'll close this note by asking that you continue to be mindful of your own health and the health of your patients.  Use standard precautions, stay home if you have any of the flu symptoms and please make sure that you've informed Occupational Health. 

Bob Bell

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