The Mexican swine flu outbreak has prompted Niagara public health officials to “ramp up” pandemic planning and surveillance for flu-like symptoms.

The disease, believed to have killed almost 150 people in Mexico, hasn’t proved fatal for any of the 40 victims in the U. S. or six in Canada.

There are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Niagara or Ontario, but the province is investigating about a dozen suspected cases.

Medical officer of health Dr. Robin Williams wouldn’t reveal if any suspected cases are in Niagara, but said the Region is planning for all possibilities.

“I’d be very surprised if this doesn’t continue to spread,” Williams said after a public health meeting at regional headquarters. “Will it turn into a big, serious event? Maybe not … (but) we’re going to be prepared.”

Williams said her department is updating its pandemic plan constantly to reflect new information from provincial and federal public health agencies.

The first priority is getting personal protection information to the public.

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