The Department of Health Promotion and Protection is changing the way public health officials monitor and report cases of H1N1 (human swine influenza) beginning today, May 22. “H1N1 is behaving like seasonal influenza, so we are making our clinical approach to this virus consistent with the way we normally manage flu,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief public health officer for the province. “However, the outbreak of H1N1 in Nova Scotia is not over. That’s why we are enhancing our surveillance efforts. It is important to track community spread and quickly detect any change in severity.” The move is consistent with the approach taken by the Public Health Agency of Canada, and other provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada. The province will continue close communication with district health authorities, public health professionals and work closely with federal, provincial, and territorial partners. Many experts believe that the H1N1 virus could return in the fall. It is also possible the next outbreak could be more severe. “We have a strong health-care system with highly skilled and caring professionals. We are well-positioned to manage any issues that might arise,” said Dr. Ken Buchholz, senior physician advisor with the Department of Health. “We will continue to work closely with the Department of Health Promotion and Protection, district health authorities and health-care professionals to ensure we are prepared.” Businesses large and small are also being asked to prepare for the fall flu season. All organizations are encouraged to ensure their business continuity plans are up-to-date with the most accurate information possible. Nova Scotians are reminded that everyone can help slow the spread of viruses through prevention. That means washing hands thoroughly and often, coughing or sneezing into sleeves, frequently cleaning and disinfecting common surfaces such as doorknobs and kitchen counters, and staying home if you have flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include fever, cough, severe fatigue, and head or muscle aches. The total number of cases reported in Nova Scotia since the outbreak began on April 26 is 70. All cases are mild and those affected are recovered or recovering. For more information visit www.gov.ns.ca .