CTV WEB EXCLUSIVE: West Island woman relieved after release from quarantine
Published Saturday, April 25, 2009 6:40PM EDT
Patricia Wehlan, a West Islander who feared she had contracted swine flu while in Mexico, was released from the Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire Saturday afternoon, after spending hours under quarantine.
The Dollard-des-Ormeaux resident, 50, underwent a series of blood tests after being placed in isolation, and was eventually informed that she did not have the potentially deadly strain of flu.
Wehlan spent three weeks vacationing in her native Mexico City, and returned to Montreal in late March.
An outbreak of swine flu in Mexico has caused international concern, with the World Health Organization calling it a "public health emergency."
According to WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl, at least 62 people have died in Mexico from severe pneumonia caused by the flu-like illness.
Mexican officials put the death toll at 68, with 20 confirmed to be linked to the new swine flu strain, known as A H1N1.
Speaking exclusively to CTVMontreal.ca, Wehlan said she went to the clinic last Monday because she had been feeling unwell since came home.
The doctor prescribed antibiotics, but her symptoms persisted in spite of the medication, she said.
"Fever, cough, headaches, muscle aches...I had shortness of breath and extreme fatigue," said Whelan.
Watching reports on the news about the deaths in Mexico prompted Wehlan to seek further medical advice.
Wehlan said after spending at least an hour in the waiting room at the Lakeshore General -- wearing a mask she had brought to the hospital -- she was assessed by the staff and placed under quarantine.
"You have no windows. They told me to close the door for at least two hours," she said, adding that she feared for her life while she sat in isolation.
Wehlan praised the staff of the hospital for acting swiftly, but noted that she believed media attention to her case may have been what prompted them to act so quickly.
"It's wonderful to know that they took the necessary precautions," she said.
"I have the confidence now that I'm fine. They did explain all the tests to me."
Whelan added that she will return to the hospital for a follow-up on Wednesday.
Another patient released from hospital
A health official confirmed that another person who was placed under quarantine at the hospital after vacationing in Mexico was also taken out of isolation Saturday afternoon.
"It was quite clear that they did not meet the criteria for swine flu," Montreal Public Health Department spokesperson Deborah Bonney told CTVMontreal.ca.
In a telephone interview with CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie Saturday morning, hospital spokesperson Louis-Pascal Cyr confirmed that two patients were put in isolation as a precaution, because of the deadly swine flu outbreak in Mexico.
"Because of the guidelines sent out by the Health Ministry, we're taking no chances with anyone coming from Mexico, and presenting with flu-like symptoms," said Cyr.
Warning from Canadian health officials
An advisory sent by the Public Health Agency of Canada to health services across Canada warns that Canadians who have recently vacationed in Mexico should stay on alert for severe flu-like symptoms that could be connected to the respiratory illness that has surfaced in that country.
Anyone who has returned from Mexico within the last two weeks and is suffering the following symptoms should contact a physician:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- muscle and joint pain
- extreme fatigue
With files from CTV.ca News Staff and The Canadian Press