MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY, ALBERTA — The ongoing effort to contain an outbreak of avian influenza is not expected to affect the general public, says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
As of Monday, the agency confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, subtype H5N1, at five locations in Mountain View County (MVC), representing a regional increase of two over the long weekend.
The first three — two in MVC and another in Ponoka County — were identified on April 6. Another was found two days later on April 8 in Kneehill County. The following day, on April 9, an outbreak was discovered in Paintearth County. Three more were identified on April 10, 11 and 12, in Wetaskiwin County, Camrose County, and MVC, respectively. Then, on April 14, three more locations were added to the list — two in MVC and one in Warner County. The latest information available prior to press deadline that was posted on the agency’s website also reported that one more location in Cardston County was identified on April 15.
The animals involved in the locations listed above were from commercial poultry flocks in all but one of the instances in MVC, which was attributed to a small flock.
The agency says it has established Primary Control Zones (PCZ) in the areas where the disease has been identified.
“The PCZs are in place to control the risk of further spread of the virus,” reads a portion of an emailed statement from CFIA. “Each infected premises is under quarantine and will be going through a similar process which involves: destruction and disposal; compensation; cleaning and disinfection; removal of quarantine.”
Although the Albertan was unable to confirm approximately how many birds have been culled to date in the region, the agency said late last week that the infected premises in three of the zones in the region “have been depopulated and the disposal process is underway.”
The transportation of poultry as well as poultry-related products within or through the zones requires permits issued through the agency.
“Low risk movements can happen with a self-serve permit that producers and transporters can download from the CFIA website,” it says. “Higher risk movements such as live birds, carcasses, manure and hatching eggs require a specific permit.”
Pertaining to commercial poultry operations, the agency said it is working with producer marketing boards to vet and triage permits to minimize the impact on producers in the affected zones without compromising the disease control measures.
One of the zones in the region includes portions of the towns of Olds and Didsbury.
“But the general public will not normally be affected,” the agency said in response to a question about what the measures might mean for movement in the area.
“Groceries purchased at retail in either town can be brought to homes outside of the PCZ. Also, retail groceries purchased outside of the PCZ can be brought to residences inside the PCZ.”
Meanwhile, across the country, the number of animals culled had as of earlier this week nearly reached three-quarters of a million.
“Nationally, the affected premises to date have involved approximately 700,000 birds,” a spokesperson wrote by email on April 18 in response to questions, adding that a provincial level breakdown of the bird count was expected to be available on the agency’s website later this week.
How long quarantines on affected properties might be expected to last depends largely on the individual situation, but can be expected to be in place for more than a month at least.
“Completion of all the steps leading to the removal of a quarantine is affected by a number of premises-specific factors,” the spokesperson said. “But the overall process typically takes about 45 days.”
Additionally, related zone and associated movement controls are not immediately lifted when an infected premise is released from quarantine, they said.
“The CFIA first completes post-outbreak surveillance to confirm that the avian influenza has been stamped out in the PCZ.”
Despite the rapid spread that has swept through avian populations, the risk of transmission to humans remains low.
“Human infections with the avian influenza virus is rare and symptoms in human cases are often limited to conjunctivitis or mild respiratory disease,” said the spokesperson.
“There is no evidence to suggest that the consumption of cooked poultry or eggs could transmit the avian flu to humans. All the evidence to date indicates that thorough cooking will kill the virus.”
Even so, the agency advises people to stay away from wild birds.
“To help prevent the spread of avian flu in bird populations and human exposure, people should avoid contact with wild birds, refrain from feeding or touching wild birds, including access to ponds or bodies of water known to be used by wild birds.”
Rare Cases of Monkeypox Diagnosed in Britain | Health | thesuburban.com – The Suburban Newspaper
TUESDAY, May 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Four men in England have been infected with a “rare and unusual” monkeypox virus.
Investigators from the U.K. Health Security Agency are investigating the cases and whether there is any connection between the men, according to the Associated Press. None of the individuals had traveled to the African countries where the virus is endemic. Three of the men are in London, and one is in Northeast England.
Three earlier cases were announced last week. In those cases, two of the patients lived in the same household. The third person had previously traveled to Nigeria, one of the countries where the virus is endemic in animals. Most people who get monkeypox recover quickly, within several weeks. The virus has symptoms that include fever, muscle ache, chills, and fatigue. A rash similar to that found in chickenpox and smallpox can form on the face and genitals in more severe cases.
The latest four cases all happen to be in men who identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men. However, monkeypox does not easily spread between people, and it is not known to be transmitted sexually. In Western and Central Africa, the virus is typically spread by touching or being bitten by an infected wild animal. However, it could be spread among people with extremely close contact, the British health officials said.
“The evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact,” said Susan Hopkins, M.D., chief medical advisor for the U.K. Health Security Agency, the AP reported. “We are particularly urging men who are gay or bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.”
Public health officials consider the risk to the general population to be low. They are working with hospitals and international partners to determine if there is a similar rise in cases in other places. This includes tracing people who had contacts with the monkeypox cases, including airline passengers, the AP said. Doctors who see patients with unexplained rashes should seek advice from a specialist, public health officials said.
Long COVID: Half of patients hospitalised have at least one symptom two years on – Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin
Two years on, half of a group of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, still have at least one lingering symptom, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The study followed 1192 participants in Wuhan infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.
While physical and mental health generally improved over time, the study found that COVID-19 patients still tend to have poorer health and quality of life than the general population. This is especially the case for participants with long COVID, who typically still have at least one symptom including fatigue, shortness of breath and sleep difficulties two years after initially falling ill.1
The long-term health impacts of COVID-19 have remained largely unknown, as the longest follow-up studies to date have spanned around one year.2 The lack of pre-COVID-19 health status baselines and comparisons with the general population in most studies has also made it difficult to determine how well patients with COVID-19 have recovered.
Lead author Professor Bin Cao, of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, China, said, “Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, more than two years is needed to recover fully from COVID-19. Ongoing follow-up of COVID-19 survivors, particularly those with symptoms of long COVID, is essential to understand the longer course of the illness, as is further exploration of the benefits of rehabilitation programs for recovery. There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who’ve had COVID-19, and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments and variants affect long-term health outcomes.”3
The authors of the new study sought to analyse the long-term health outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, as well as specific health impacts of long COVID. They evaluated the health of 1192 participants with acute COVID-19 treated at Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, between 7 January and 29 May 2020, at six months, 12 months and two years.
Assessments involved a six-minute walking test, laboratory tests and questionnaires on symptoms, mental health, health-related quality of life, if they had returned to work and healthcare use after discharge. The negative effects of long COVID on quality of life, exercise capacity, mental health and healthcare use were determined by comparing participants with and without long COVID symptoms. Health outcomes at two years were determined using an age-, sex- and comorbidities-matched control group of people in the general population with no history of COVID-19 infection.
Two years after initially falling ill, patients with COVID-19 are generally in poorer health than the general population, with 31% reporting fatigue or muscle weakness and 31% reporting sleep difficulties. The proportion of non-COVID-19 participants reporting these symptoms was 5% and 14%, respectively.
COVID-19 patients were also more likely to report a number of other symptoms including joint pain, palpitations, dizziness and headaches. In quality of life questionnaires, COVID-19 patients also more often reported pain or discomfort (23%) and anxiety or depression (12%) than non-COVID-19 participants (5% and 5%, respectively).
Around half of study participants had symptoms of long COVID at two years, and reported lower quality of life than those without long COVID. In mental health questionnaires, 35% reported pain or discomfort and 19% reported anxiety or depression. The proportion of COVID-19 patients without long COVID reporting these symptoms was 10% and 4% at two years, respectively. Long COVID participants also more often reported problems with their mobility (5%) or activity levels (4%) than those without long COVID (1% and 2%, respectively).
The authors acknowledged limitations to their study, such as moderate response rate; slightly increased proportion of participants who received oxygen; it was a single centre study from early in the pandemic.
1. – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network – Royal College of General Practitioners. COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng188
2. – Soriano – JB Murthy – S Marshall – JC Relan – P Diaz JV – on behalf of the WHO Clinical Case Definition Working Group on Post-COVID-19 Condition. A clinical case definition of post-COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021; 22: e102-e107
3. – Huang L – Yao Q – Gu X – et al. 1-year outcomes in hospital survivors with COVID-19: a longitudinal cohort study. Lancet. 2021; 398: 747-758
Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ink drop
2SLGBTQ+ lobby group head speaks on the trauma of conversion therapy
Although conversion therapy has now been outlawed in Canada, many are still victims causing them to go through a lot of trauma in the process.
According to Jordan Sullivan, Project Coordinator of Conversion Therapy Survivors Support and Survivors of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts (SOGIECE), survivors of conversion therapy identify the need for a variety of supports including education and increased awareness about SOGIECE and conversion practices.
Also needed is access to affirming therapists experienced with SOGIECE, trauma (including religious trauma), safe spaces and networks, and access to affirming healthcare practitioners who are aware of conversion therapy or SOGIECE and equipped to support survivors.
“In January of 2021 when I was asked to be the project coordinator, I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure that my experience could be classified as SOGIECE or conversion therapy. I never attended a formalized conversion therapy program or camp run by a religious organization. Healthcare practitioners misdiagnosed me or refused me access to care.
In reality, I spent 27 years internalizing conversion therapy practices through prayer, the study of religious texts, disassociation from my body, and suppression or denial of my sexual and gender identities. I spent six years in counselling and change attempts using conversion therapy practices. I came out as a lesbian at age 33, and as a Trans man at age 51. I am now 61 and Queerly Heterosexual, but I spent decades of my life hiding in shame and fear and struggled with suicidal ideation until my mid-30s.
At times I wanted to crawl away and hide, be distracted by anything that silenced the emptiness, the pain, the wounds deep inside. I realized that in some ways, I am still more comfortable in shame, silence, and disassociation, than in any other way of being and living, but I was also filled with wonderment at the resiliency and courage of every single one of the participants.
However, many of us did not survive, choosing to end the pain and shame through suicide. Many of us are still victims in one way or another, still silenced by the shame, still afraid of being seen as we are. Still, many of us are survivors, and while it has not been an easy road, many of us are thrivers too,” said Jordan.
In addition, Jordan said conversion practices and programs are not easily defined or identified, and often capture only a fragment of pressures and messages that could be considered SOGIECE.
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