Viewing cable 09REYKJAVIK170, ICELAND'S PLANS TO COMBAT H1N1 VIRUS THIS WINTER
Every cable message consists of three parts:
- The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
- The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
- The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09REYKJAVIK170.
|09REYKJAVIK170||2009-09-28 17:05||2011-01-13 05:05||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Reykjavik|
VZCZCXYZ0005 RR RUEHWEB DE RUEHRK #0170 2711707 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 281707Z SEP 09 FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4175 INFO RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0384 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0156
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000170 STATE FOR OES/IHB AND EUR/NB COPENHAGEN FOR ESTH HUB LONDON FOR J.SILVA SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KFLU AMED PREL TBIO IC SUBJECT: ICELAND'S PLANS TO COMBAT H1N1 VIRUS THIS WINTER REF: REYKJAVIK 97 ¶1. (U) Summary: The strain of the H1N1 influenza virus present in Iceland has been milder than that experienced in other countries, and only one person has been hospitalized with the illness earlier this year. Occurrences of H1N1 in Iceland have been on the decline recently. However, Iceland's Chief Epidemiologist predicts the influenza virus will hit hard in December or January, Iceland's peak flu season months. Iceland will administer vaccinations to three target groups beginning in October, once vaccine supplies arrive in country. End summary. ¶2. (U) The first case of H1N1 in Iceland, an individual who had recently returned from New York, was announced on May 26. According to the Directorate of Health, as of September 25, 199 cases of the H1N1 virus were confirmed in Iceland, 107 males and 92 females. However, the Health Directorate, in June, began diagnosing many cases based solely upon symptoms exhibited rather than upon medical tests. As a result 1,264 cases of H1N1-like illness were diagnosed but not confirmed between June 29 and September 1. Only one person was hospitalized for a short period of time and there have been no deaths as a result of the virus. Haraldur Briem, Iceland's Chief Epidemiologist told EmbOff there are currently no cases of serious illness due to the H1N1 virus in Iceland at this time. ¶3. (U) Briem told EmbOff that he expects the H1N1 vaccine to arrive in Iceland in the beginning of October. Icelandic health authorities have purchased 300,000 doses of the vaccine, which will be delivered in four shipments. The last shipment is expected to arrive in Iceland at the beginning of January 2010. Vaccinations will be performed only at health care centers and hospitals. The recent discovery that the vaccine might only need to be administered once means that almost all Icelanders (pop. 320,000) could be vaccinated. ¶4. (U) The H1N1 vaccine, which will be provided free of charge to Icelandic residents, will be administered to three target groups in accordance with WHO recommendations. Group I consists of health care workers, caretakers in nursing homes and homes for disabled people, patients with specified underlying diseases, pregnant women, policemen, firemen, rescue workers and paramedics. Group II, comprised of all individuals between six months and 18 years of age, will be offered vaccinations in the beginning of November. The remaining vaccine supply will then be offered to Group III, all other residents in Iceland. ¶5. (U) According to Briem, individuals in Group I will be vaccinated first, beginning in October, and revaccinated later if needed. Once Group I has been vaccinated, those in Group II will be able to make an appointment within a specified timeframe. At the end of that period, Group III will be able to make an appointment for vaccination. Briem said the schools will most likely try to schedule group appointments. Authorities will encourage people to get the vaccine, but it is not mandatory. The government has already distributed informational posters and hand sanitizers as part of its public awareness campaign. ¶6. (U) Iceland adopted the WHO's declaration of H1N1 as a pandemic in the beginning of August, despite the mild nature of the symptoms, because the Chief Epidemiologist stated that the flu was thought to be spreading faster in comparison with the other Nordic countries. Despite the declaration, however, no restrictions were placed on schools or public gatherings, nor were additional resources made available to address the issue. Schools, which started in late August and early September, have not reported an increase of H1N1 virus cases this year and have operated on normal basis. Iceland has two influenza seasons. The first period runs through October, while the second period peaks in January or February. Chief Epidemiologist Briem told EmbOff that it is very likely that the second wave of the H1N1 virus will appear after the New Year. ¶7. (U) Comment: The Icelandic government is taking seriously the threat of another H1N1 outbreak in Iceland and making an effort to prepare for its possible recurrence. Recent budget cuts due to the economic crisis should have little impact on the government's ability to address the issue, as the vaccines will have been administered before any layoffs would take effect. However, as the vaccinations are voluntary and Iceland can be a popular tourist destination even in the winter, the reemergence of an H1N1 outbreak is expected. End comment. WATSON