Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones heads the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Canadian Summit Next Week on Treating Severe H1N1

The Sept. 2-3 meeting will produce new treatment guidelines and guidance on identifying surge capacity for hospitals during a severe outbreak, said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer.

The government of Canada said today it has invited public health officials, intensive care specialists, and medical experts from Canada and abroad to meet Sept. 2-3 in Winnipeg to discuss best practices for treating severe H1N1 infections. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), which issues special reports on any unusual case or cluster, said 71 deaths attributed to H1N1 have been recorded in Canada as of Aug. 25. Only four months ago, on May 4, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, announced the country's first severe case, a young girl in Edmonton, Alberta.

PHAC and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research are providing an additional $2.7 million to their joint Influenza Research Network to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the pandemic vaccine and to evaluate vaccine implementation programs. The network will be headed by Dr. Scott Halperin, director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology in Halifax, and will involve 80 scientists from 30 research and public health institutions across Canada.

"Canadian health care workers will have the tools they need to safely and effectively prevent and treat H1N1," said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. "We are continuing to follow our pandemic preparedness plan by collaborating with all levels of government to protect and support our frontline workers."

Participants in the meeting will plan for a possible second wave of H1N1 this fall. "This meeting is an opportunity for front-line health workers and public health officials to collaborate and identify some key challenges and strategies for the fall," Butler-Jones said. "Coming out of this meeting, we aim to have new guidelines on treatment and management of severe cases, as well as some guidance on issues like identifying surge capacity for hospitals during a more severe outbreak." For more information on the conference, visit this site. PHAC updates on H1N1 are available here.

One element of the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan is ensuring that every Canadian who needs and wants it has access to the pandemic vaccine. The government recently announced it will buy 50.4 million doses of pandemic vaccine.

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