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In March and April 2009, pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza A virus (pH1N1 2009) emerged in Mexico, the United States and Canada. As of August 6, 2010, more than 214 countries officially reported laboratory-confirmed cases of pH1N1 2009 infection, including 18,449 deaths. (1) Of these, 8,678 laboratory-confirmed hospitalized cases of pH1N1 2009 had been reported in all provinces and territories in Canada, including 1,473 ICU admissions and 428 deaths. (2) Of special concern has been the morbidity and mortality burden of this virus in First Nation and other Aboriginal communities. While Aboriginal peoples constitute only 3.8% of the Canadian population, from April 2009 to April 2010, they accounted for 7.4-10% of hospitalizations due to pH1N1 2009, 7.8-10.4% of ICU admissions and 7.1-10.4% of deaths. (2) These numbers were even higher during the first wave of the pandemic (April 12-August 29, 2009), when the rate of hospitalization of First Nations was 72 per 100,000 population, compared to a national cumulative crude hospitalization rate of 25.7 per 100,000 population. (2) In a study of 168 critically ill patients with pH1N1 2009 influenza in Canada during wave 1, Aboriginal peoples accounted for 25.6% of cases. (3) As of mid-June 2009 during the first wave of the pandemic, 24 Manitobans were on respirators in Winnipeg intensive care units, more than two thirds of whom were First Nations people. We herein describe what is currently known regarding the risk of influenza among First Nations people in Canada. METHODS

Professional & Technical
September 1
Canadian Public Health Association

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