British Columbia and Alberta have become the latest provinces in Canada to investigate cases of an unusual syndrome in children, which doctors around the world are studying to see if there’s a definitive link to COVID-19.
The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Montreal’s Sainte-Justine Hospital are each examining 20 possible cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.
Earlier this week, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health announced doctors are looking into one suspected case in the province, while British Columbia said it is investigating half a dozen cases.
“Because there isn’t really a definitive, one specific test that says, ‘yes, you have multisystem inflammatory syndrome’ or ‘you don’t,’ I don’t think that the cases themselves are 100 per cent clearly defined from children who might have some other type of infection,” said Dr. Jeremy Friedman, the associate chief of pediatrics at SickKids.
“It might take a little bit of time to really be absolutely certain about how many cases that are being investigated are actually truly related to COVID.”
Friedman’s team at the Toronto hospital have also been in contact with the study at Sainte-Justine run by Marie-Paule Morin, a pediatric rheumatologist.
This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C. The agency’s case definition includes current or recent COVID-19 infection or exposure to the virus, a fever of at least 38 C for at least 24 hours, severe illness requiring hospitalization, inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or nervous system.
The CDC said some children may have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, a rare condition that can cause swelling and heart problems.
In other parts of the world, the illness is also called Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS).
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday that while little is known about MIS-C, ”it seems to be more something that happens as a result of (a child’s) immune system going into overdrive after an infection and causing this inflammatory response in multiple organs.”
Hinshaw gave little information about the province’s first suspected case, other to say that the child is stable in hospital.
In Toronto, Friedman said one of the 20 children had to be admitted to an intensive care unit. All have responded well to treatment and have gone home.
There have been no reported deaths linked to MIS-C in Canada, but some children have died from the illness in New York, France and the United Kingdom.
Friedman said it is “highly suspicious” that there seems to be an increase in children presenting MIS-C symptoms about a month after the peak in the number of COVID-19 infections in their communities.
“That seems to be a consistent time that people are seeing this uptick,” he said.
But Friedman noted that none of the children at SickKids tested positive for an active coronavirus infection. His team has blood samples from each child that will then be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
Although Health Canada has recently approved two serological tests, Friedman said he is waiting to hear from provincial experts on which one is most accurate.
The Canadian Paediatric Society recently published MIS-C guidelines for clinicians and caregivers and is tracking and studying the illness nationwide.
“This syndrome is still very new, and scientists and doctors are learning about it in real time,” the society said in an email Friday.
“The CPSP study will provide essential, timely information about how children are being affected, which children are at highest risk, and will enable us to adjust best practices for prevention and care based on evidence.”
Friedman said parents should be vigilant about signs of MIS-C, but they shouldn’t be alarmed since the numbers are low and the condition is treatable.
“This is definitely going to add to what we know about COVID and hopefully some aspects of what we learn will inform the development of vaccines,” he said.
“It’s quite reassuring to know that we can all learn from each other and that is happens in a pretty rapid sequence.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020
— With files from The Associated Press
Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
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Stay vigilant, Manitoba: top doc warns of second COVID-19 wave – Winnipeg Free Press
With zero COVID-19 cases reported thus far in July, Manitoba’s top doctor is warning people not to be complacent about the novel coronavirus — and to brace for the fall.
Dr. Brent Roussin says Manitoba could be hit with a second wave of COVID-19 worse than the 325 cases reported so far in the first.
“Manitoba’s numbers remain favourable, but we need to remain vigilant to keep those numbers low,” Roussin said at a news conference Thursday. He reported there are only four active cases in the province, none of which are hospitalized, and 314 people have recovered.
“Manitobans are well-versed in the things that have led to our flattening of the curve: hand hygiene, physical distancing and, most importantly, now as we move forward, is to stay home when we’re ill,” Roussin said. ”This is going to be vital to our success.
“We can’t have people with symptoms of respiratory illness going to work or to school. We need to ensure we’re protecting everyone and staying home when ill.”
Even if there are no active cases in Manitoba, people can’t let their guard down: a lot more COVID-19 cases are expected, he warned.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?rel=0&wmode=transparent” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
“We need to prepare to see an increase in cases in the fall, higher than even our first wave, possibly,” the chief provincial public health officer said. “We’re going to do whatever we can to not get back into an area where we were in March and April, with large shutdowns.
“We want to learn how to live with this virus.”
That means reducing the risk — especially for those most susceptible to severe outcomes. Health officials are working on a messaging campaign urging residents to get a seasonal flu shot and, if they have symptoms, to get tested for COVID-19 and stay home.
“The early identification of cases is vital so we can do that contact tracing, we can isolate cases,” Roussin said. “We’re going to be getting Manitobans prepared to see increased absenteeism at work and increased absenteeism at school, because we want those people to be at home when they’re ill.”
The province has increased its stockpile of personal protective equipment and has “a much better system of tracking our stores of PPE,” Roussin said.
“Even if we see influenza A activity in November and not COVID, we don’t know that COVID won’t be here in December or January, so we’re going to need to treat this upcoming respiratory (flu) season as a COVID season until proven otherwise.”
Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.
Edmonton zone COVID-19 deaths climb to 20 as Alberta announces 37 more coronavirus cases – Global News
EDITOR’S NOTE: This headline originally said Edmonton has recorded 20 COVID-19 deaths. It has been corrected to say the Edmonton zone has recorded 20 deaths. We regret the error.
Alberta Health announced three additional COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, all linked to a coronavirus outbreak at Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital.
The deaths brings the total number of COVID-19 fatalities in Alberta to 161 and in the Edmonton zone to 20.
For more information on the outbreak at the hospital in Edmonton, click here.
At the same time, health officials said 37 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the province over the past 24 hours. Currently, there are 584 active cases in Alberta.
The Calgary zone currently has the most actives cases of the disease with 220, and the Edmonton zone is close behind with 215. There are 90 active cases in the South zone, 42 in the North zone, 11 in the Central zone and there are six cases that have not been connected to any particular zone.
Forty-six Albertans are currently in hospital with COVID-19 and seven of those are in intensive care units.
As of Thursday afternoon, 507,169 coronavirus tests had been conducted in Alberta since the pandemic first hit the province in March.
Of Alberta’s total of 8,519 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 7,774 have seen people recover.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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