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First lesson? How to avoid H1N1

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WINNIPEG - The province used the first day of school for many Manitoba kids to highlight its battle plan for the second wave of the H1N1 influenza virus.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald said today the province will spend more than $47 million to tell Manitobans how they can contain the virus and treat those who fall ill.

Manitoba currently has enough supplies for the health care system to last eight weeks if there is a disruption in the normal supply chain or delivery problems in the fall. Current Manitoba supply stockpile (over and above normal supplies): N-95 respirators—2,198,240 Surgical masks—28,358,000 Hand sanitizer—29,016 bottles Gowns—1,895,000 Eye protection—3,101,700 Gloves—731,000 Tamiflu—176,000 treatment courses Source—Manitoba Government

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The five-point plan includes stockpiling antivirals and distributing a vaccine once it's approved by federal authorities.

As of Aug. 24 Manitoba has seen 886 confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu. Of those 327 were First Nations or Metis people. Seven people died.

Oswald said each residence in the province will get a guide on how to prepare for the flu.

She said each family should also think about which parent stays home from work when a child gets sick and how each business should prepare when a number of works call in sick.

Health officials have said how deep the H1N1 will be this fall will be partly measured by how many school children get sick.

Teachers are to use the first days of school to alert students and parents about what they can do to contain the spread the the virus, and when to stay home when sick.

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Updated on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 12:53 PM CDT: Adds fact box

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