May 5, 2009

Influenza A(H1N1)

As you know very well, the Influenza A(H1N1), or so called swine influenza, has been the focus of attention for past few days in Japan and other countries. Though no infected patient has been identified so far in Japan, it would be wise to take cautious measures so that our Church communities would not be the sources of wide spread infection.

The Japan Catholic Medical Association has sent a letter to the Japanese Catholic Bishops' Conference to warn bishops to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Tokyo Archdiocese has prepared a pastoral guide line on the occasion of such emergency situation caused by the new type of Influenza. The guide line has been based on the one prepared by the diocese of Hong Kong a few years ago when SARS was the center of attention. You may find the guide line, though only in Japanese, from the Home Page of the Tokyo Archdiocese.

In Niigata diocese, I would like to ask you to be calm and carefully watch the government directions. The diocese will send the direction to each parishes whenever it is necessary. But meantime, if you have traveled to those affected countries recently or if you have someone nearby who traveled to those affected countries, and if you have a fever more than 38 degrees Celsius, or if your are coughing, please do not feel obliged to join Sunday Mass. Remain in your house and, if the symptoms persists, contact your local government for further instructions before you go directly to nearby hospitals.

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