Check here for the latest updates to physicians on the Human Swine Influenza A (H1N1)
Latest Update: April 30, 2009
Re: H1N1 influenza (swine flu)
Yesterday, the World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert level to 5 on a scale of 1 to 6, indicating that an influenza pandemic may be imminent. This is to advise you regarding LifeLabs services during this period.
LifeLabs will continue to operate all patient service centres (PSCs) and testing laboratories without any change in hours or services offered. We do not anticipate any disruption in the services we provide to patients or physicians at this time. If circumstances change or a pandemic is declared, we will keep you advised of any impact on our services in future communications.
We have taken steps to ensure adherence to recommended infection control practices to provide maximal protection to our patients and staff during this outbreak. Accordingly, you and your patients may notice that our staff are wearing surgical masks with or without eye protection as appropriate.
We would be most appreciative if you could instruct your patients with influenza symptoms to comply with instructions posted on our PSCs specifying wearing a mask and washing their hands or using alcohol gel hand sanitizer before entering the PSC to protect fellow patients and staff.
Thus far, many patients have had mild illness that does not require laboratory testing for influenza. However, if you order influenza testing, the optimal specimen is a nasopharyngeal swab in viral transport medium (available from BCCDC). A nasal swab in viral transport medium is also acceptable. Wire shaft swabs and throat swabs are not acceptable. Be sure to complete a BCCDC requisition indicating severe respiratory illness, travel history, or exposure to other patients with influenza as applicable.
For additional information or any other assistance please contact us at 604-431-5005 or 1-800-663-9422.
Michael T. Kelly, MD, PhD, FRCPC