Over 800,000 leaflets giving the public important information about swine flu will begin dropping through letter-boxes across Northern Ireland today.
The leaflets are part of a UK wide public awareness campaign, which includes television, radio and print advertising.
The Minister for Health, Michael McGimpsey said “It is important to keep this leaflet safe because it contains essential information for you and your family about swine flu.
“So far we have had no confirmed cases in Northern Ireland, but that doesn’t mean we should become complacent. The lack of information and uncertainly about the current situation in Mexico makes it difficult to establish exactly what the impact of this virus will be.
“The leaflet tells you what swine flu is and how it could spread; it provides information about how the government has prepared for a wider outbreak of flu; it tells you what you can do to protect yourself and others against flu.
“The leaflet also contains important telephone numbers such as the Northern Ireland helpline 0800 0514 142, which you can call if you have recently returned from Mexico or another affected area and are worried and need more information.”
Commenting on preparations within Northern Ireland I if any cases emerge, the Minister said: “We currently have a stockpile of antivirals to cover half of our population and we are taking steps to increase this to treat up to 80% of the population. In addition, along with the other UK Health departments, we have a sleeping contract in place with manufacturers for the production of a vaccine. I am also increasing our stocks of antibiotics in case they are needed to treat complications of influenza, particularly pneumonia.
“The public can be assured, that I am taking this issue very seriously and will continue to provide the people of Northern Ireland with the best advice to deal with any emerging situation.”
Source: Department of Health, Northern Ireland, Ireland