Armando Perez was only three months old when he got itchy.
His mom, Alexandra Perez, says it wasn’t normal scratching that could be fixed with a cute pair of baby mittens. It was so bad that there were blood stains on his bedsheets and scabs on his little arms and legs.
At first, she thought Armando might have an allergy.
“I tried different laundry detergents and different body washes, but he was still itchy,” recalls Perez, as the now 2 1/2-year old and his big brother and little sister play with their grandpa in the downstairs of their Edmonton home.
“Then he turned yellow. I was like, ‘Well, that’s not normal.’”
She says she took the boy to see a doctor, blood tests were ordered and they came back “totally out of whack.” The doctor sent Armando to a specialist and he was admitted for a week to the city’s children’s hospital for more testing.
Perez and her husband, Walter, soon found out their son has progressive familial intraheptic cholestasis — an ultra-rare genetic liver disease that affects one in every 50,000 to 100,000 children born around the world.
Dr. Cara Mack, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Colorado, says there are 40 to 80 cases of the disease diagnosed each year in the United States. And there are six different types.
Armando has Type 2, which is caused by a gene mutation that decreases bile flow.
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Mack, who hasn’t treated Armando, says 100 per cent of Type 2 patients are symptomatic.
“Because of the fact that bile acids are stuck in the liver … that directly damages the liver,” says Mack, who notes it leads to scarring and eventually cirrhosis.
Mack says it also causes growth delays because children aren’t able to break down fats or absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K.
“You get significant deficiencies in those vitamins that can lead to, for example, significant bleeding,” she says. “If you are Vitamin D deficient, you can have thin bones and fractures.
“The last major symptom you get is severe itching because the bile acids are stuck inside the liver. They go backwards into the bloodstream and accumulate in the bloodstream.”
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That causes children to “itch like crazy,” she said.
Dr. Bonnie Henry (Photo from BC Government Flickr)
Health officials in B.C. reported 223 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are 2,009 active cases in the province, with 4,637 people under active public health monitoring.
A total of 10,247 people who tested positive have now recovered.
Currently, 75 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 24 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Vancouver Island only had one new confirmed case.
There have been two new health-care facility outbreaks at Laurel Place and Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge. In total, 16 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.
The outbreaks at PICS Assisted Living, Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre, Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence and Thornebridge Gardens Retirement Residence have been declared over.
There have also been two new community outbreaks at Coast Spas Manufacturing and Pace Processing.
“In recent days, we have seen a number of new outbreaks of COVID-19 in the community and in long-term care facilities,” Henry says. “Contact-tracing teams throughout our province are working around the clock to stop further spread, but it requires all of us to do our part to be successful in these efforts.”
Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Friday:
Toronto COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise
The City of Toronto said there were 317 new coronavirus cases Friday, bringing the city’s total to 25,913. There are 123 people hospitalized, which is an increase of 17 people from Thursday.
#COVID19 is on the rise in Toronto. There have been a total of 25,913 cases of COVID-19 in the city, an increase of 317 new cases today. There are 123 people hospitalized, an increase of 17 new people.
According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 1,913 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of three deaths since the previous day. Eight health-care workers and staff in long-term care homes have died.
There are 77 current outbreaks in homes, an decrease of three.
The ministry also indicated there are currently 229 active cases among long-term care residents and 237 active cases among staff — up by 23 and down by six cases respectively in the last day.
Ontario long-term care commission provides government recommendations for 2nd wave in homes
Ontario’s independent commission into long-term care in the province has released early recommendations for the Ford government to implement as the second wave of the coronavirus is in full swing.
The report found that in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, 55 per cent of long-term care homes in the province reported an outbreak, while 75 per cent of all deaths were represented by long-term care residents.
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Earlier findings found that long-term care homes in the province suffered from staffing shortages, and a lack of strong infection and prevention and control measures (IPAC), among other things.
Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 1,698 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario — 946 among students and 245 among staff (507 individuals were not identified). This is an increase of 72 more cases from the previous day.
In the last 14 days, the province indicates there are 440 cases reported among students and 95 cases among staff (261 individuals were not identified) — totaling 796 cases.
The COVID-19 cases are currently from 514 out of 4,828 schools in the province. Five schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.
There have been a total of 357 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of eight (four new child cases and four new staff cases). Out of 5,231 child care centres in Ontario, 133 currently have cases and 50 centres are closed.
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