Swine flu: Belgian doctors on alert

28th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Belgian authorities are launching a major information campaign about the new variant of flu that has broken out in Mexico. The campaign is primarily targeted at General Practitioners.

GPs who are confronted with people who have been in Mexico or the US displaying symptoms of flu are being asked to alert the health inspector.

At Brussels Airport people arriving from Mexico or the United States are being handed an information leaflet. Special notices have also been posted.

Belgium possesses sufficient antiviral drugs to treat a third of the population immediately. A vaccine against the new flu variant has not yet been developed.

The flu virus that is causing the illness is called H1N1. It is a genetic variant of human flu virus combined with viruses that also affect pigs and fowl. This particular variety has not yet been recorded among pigs.

The Influenza Commissariat, a working group including experts and representatives of a number of ministries, is stressing that contact with pigs or eating pork meat does not involve any risk.

EC calls emergency meeting

The European Commission has called an emergency meeting of EU health ministers to discuss the threat of swine flu.

Commission President José Manual Barroso says the meeting will take place as soon as possible, but that at the moment Europe is not facing an emergency.

The European Commissioner charged with health matters Androula Vassiliou is warning against travelling to Mexico or US states where the flu has been diagnosed.

The Belgian Foreign Ministry is urging caution, but trips to Mexico and the US can still proceed.


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