H5N1 in Canada: Could this bird flu strain infect humans?
A strain of bird flu is adapting to infect mammals, raising concerns it could eventually jump to the human population — and one veterinarian says there’s potential it could drive another pandemic.
The infection strain, called H5N1, is known as a “highly pathogenic” form of avian influenza virus A and it spreads most easily between birds. Current known human infections have only been the result of direct contact with infected birds, according to a report by the D.C.-based think tank Institute for Progress.
“It’s already infected birds across Canada, all provinces in Canada have reported cases of this particular strain of bird flu,” said Dr. Shayan Sharif, a professor at the University of Guelph and the Associate Dean of the school’s Ontario Veterinary College.
In an interview with CTV’s Your Morning Wednesday, Sharif said there is concern as it seems the virus is becoming more adapted to infecting mammals.
“It means that it’s probably just a few mutations away from containing the capacity for transmission. We can’t really say this with a significant amount of confidence at this moment, but there are various different pieces of the puzzle that seem to be coming togethe” he said.
According to data compiled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency along with Climate Change and Environment Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, there are 1,730 confirmed and suspected cases of bird flu overall in Canada as of Feb. 15. The majority of cases are in Quebec (359), Alberta (268) and Saskatchewan (246).
Currently, there is an ongoing quarantine of multiple farms in Fraser Valley, B.C. due to H5N1. In Quebec, thousands of sick birds were culled in summer 2022.
In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency responds to outbreaks by engaging in the “humane destruction” of infected and exposed animals, surveilling and tracking, implementing quarantine and animal movement controls, decontamination practices and zoning to indicate infected and disease-free areas.
An outbreak in farmed minks in Spain in October raised concerns the virus is jumping to mammals. Researchers reporting on the incident emphasized the need for increased biosafety and biosecurity measures in the farming system,and surveillance programs are needed at a global level.
According to the World Health Organization, since 2003 there have been 240 recorded cases of bird flu in humans, of which 135 were fatal.
But Sharif said the likelihood of the disease spreading among humans is low because,while the illness has jumped from animal to humans, those people have become “terminal hosts” who were unable to transmit it to others.
“If the virus remains as such then there’s a significantly low likelihood of this virus being able to transmit from humans to humans, but there’s always a chance,” he said.
For more information, watch the interview above with Sharif.
World Down Syndrome Day in Canada – CTV News
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is sharing a new awareness campaign featuring photos of older people with Down syndrome.
The ‘Here I Am’ photo gallery was launched today, to mark World Down Syndrome Day, and showcases portraits of older Canadians living with the condition.
“People age 40 and over are hugely underrepresented in all aspects of media, social media pictures, they’re just not visible,” Laura Lachance, executive director of CDSS told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday. “So we embarked on this campaign to bring these faces to the front.”
According to the organization, the life expectancy of Canadians with Down syndrome has doubled in the past 40 years, from 25 years in 1983, to more than 60 years in 2023.
“What’s changed is advances in medical technology, both in diagnostics and in treatment,” Lachance said. “So a lot of children who used to die in their early years are now surviving, taking advantage of all the interventions and living a long healthy life.”
Although many are living into adult life, Lachance said the challenge of finding caregivers who understand Down syndrome remains.
“As more of the Boomer parents are living longer, there’s going to have to be some kind of initiative by employers to perhaps take a look at how they can support their employees who need to take time away from work or work differently in order to care for their loved one,” Lachance said.
The photo gallery features only people over the age of 40 who are living with Down syndrome. The portraits were captured by Hilary Gauld from One for the Wall and CDSS.
Hear the full interview with Lachance by clicking the video at the top of this article.
Russia summons Canadian diplomat to protest 'regime change' statement – CBC News
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it had protested to Canada’s top diplomat in Moscow over comments by Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly about “regime change” in Russia.
Russia called Joly’s comments a ‘Russophobic attack’
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it had protested to Canada’s top diplomat in Moscow over comments by Foreign Minister Melanie Joly about “regime change” in Russia.
The ministry said it summoned Canadian charge d’affaires Brian Ebel on Monday and told him Joly’s comments were unacceptable.
Canadian media quoted Joly as saying at a news conference on March 10: “We’re able to see how much we’re isolating the Russian regime right now — because we need to do so economically, politically and diplomatically — and what are the impacts also on society and how much we’re seeing potential regime change in Russia.”
The Russian statement condemned the “Russophobic attack” and said it would have serious consequences for relations. Russia reserved the right to take “appropriate counter-measures” depending on Ottawa’s further steps.
Canada, a member of NATO and the Group of Seven (G7) leading economies, has joined its Western allies in imposing sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
On Friday, it welcomed the International Criminal Court’s move to issue arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his children’s commissioner over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia since the start of the war.
Worst city in Canada for bed bugs revealed | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
A Canadian city has just been named the worst in the country for bed bugs for the third year in a row.
Orkin Canada, a pest and wildlife control services organization, revealed in a release Tuesday that Toronto was the city in which it carried out the highest number of commercial and bed bug treatments in 2022.
Following Toronto in second is Vancouver, B.C. then Sudbury, Ont. in third.
London, Ont., which went unranked in 2021, is new to the list this year, clinching the eighth spot in the top 10 “buggiest” cities in the country in 2022
Ontario dominated the top 10 list with a total of eight cities across the province being ridden with bed bugs, including Oshawa, Ottawa, Scarborough, Sault Ste. Marie, London, and Hamilton.
“Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, but are excellent at hiding. Involving a trained professional to identify bed bugs that have been introduced or are in the early stages of an infestation is recommended,” Dr. Alice Sinia, a Ph.D. Entomologist at Orkin Canada, said in the release.
“Bed bugs are extremely resilient, making them difficult to control. As people begin to ramp up their travel plans this year, it’s important they know how to protect themselves through pest identification and proper control.”
Sinia explains bed bugs can hide in taxis, buses, trains, and airplanes, so travellers should regularly check their clothes and luggage for any unwanted passengers.
To avoid a bed bug infestation while travelling, Orkin recommends the SLEEP method – survey your hotel room for any bed bug symptoms, lift and search typical bed bug hiding spots like mattresses and underneath cushions, elevate your luggage, examine your personal items, and place your clothing in the drier for up to 45 minutes on the highest setting.
At home, Orkin recommends decluttering your space, and thoroughly inspecting second-hand furniture for dark ink-like blot marks or whitish egg clusters.
These are Canada’s 25 “bed buggiest” cities, in order:
- Toronto, Ont.
- Vancouver, B.C.
- Sudbury, Ont.
- Oshawa, Ont.
- Ottawa, Ont.
- Scarborough, Ont.
- Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
- London, Ont.
- St. John’s, N.L.
- Hamilton, Ont.
- Winnipeg, Man.
- Montreal, Que.
- Windsor, Ont.
- Edmonton, Alta.
- Timmins, Ont.
- Moncton, N.B.
- North York, Ont.
- Etobicoke, Ont.
- Calgary, Alta.
- Mississauga, Ont.
- Whitby, Ont.
- Prince George, B.C.
- Regina, Sask.
- Brampton, Ont.
- Halifax, N.S.
World Down Syndrome Day in Canada – CTV News
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