Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bird Flu Speculation: Inaccurate Media Reporting

From Toronto's East General Hospital

Toronto, OntarioMarch 19, 2008 Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) is concerned about inaccurate media speculation and reporting regarding human cases of avian flu. TEGH has no reason to speculate that any patients in the hospital have avian flu.

Toronto is experiencing steadily increasing cases of seasonal flu in the community. For example, during the week of March 2 to 8, 2008, there were 47 new cases of seasonal flu (not avian flu) in Toronto. Although TEGH has effectively responded to an increased number of patients with seasonal flu-like symptoms, including those from other facilities experiencing seasonal flu outbreaks, the hospital has no reason to believe that any patients at TEGH have H5N1 avian flu.

Furthermore, media reports are indicating that the individuals suspected to have avian flu had recently traveled to Bangladesh. It is important to clarify that, according to the World Health Organization, there have been no reported human cases of H5N1 avian flu in Bangladesh.

TEGH has a comprehensive screening program to identify patients who present with potential respiratory illness. The hospital is proud of our record in identifying such individuals. Effective identification enables TEGH to provide appropriate treatment, to utilize respiratory precautions and to protect staff and others. We are confident that no staff, patients or visitors have been inadvertently exposed to seasonal influenza at TEGH.

We wish to reassure the public that the hospital is safe and that there is no reason for anybody who has visited the hospital to be concerned. All services, including scheduled procedures, continue to be fully available. We do not anticipate a need for any reduction in service or visitation restrictions.

No comments: