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Loblaws 'assures' customers they are taking hep A infection at Superstore 'very seriously' –



Loblaws says it is working closely with Public Health Sudbury and Districts to ensure safety of customers and staff after a second case of hepatitis A was confirmed at the Real Canadian Superstore on Thursday.

The health unit said customers of the Real Canadian Superstore “who consumed clerk-served deli meat or cheese, or meat and cheese from prepared deli trays purchased from the store between Nov. 27, 2019, and Jan. 2, 2020, could be at risk of hepatitis A infection.”

This notice extends to Jan. 2 the original notice which was to Dec. 16.

“We want to assure our customers and colleagues that we take their safety very seriously,” said an email statement from Loblaws Public Relations.

“We … have taken all precautions to minimize the risk to others, including discarding all potentially impacted product and completing a second full clean of our deli, equipment and shared spaces in the store.

“It is important to note that Public Health has confirmed that there is no evidence that anyone who consumed food from the store has been infected. We have followed their guidance on vaccinations for potentially impacted colleagues and encourage our customers to do the same.”

When the second case was announced last night, Public Health quoted Stacey Laforest, director of the health protection division, saying the new case was “unfortunate, but perhaps not unexpected.” 

Dr. Ariella Zbar, associate medical officer of health, explained that Laforest was referring to the hardiness of the virus. Hepatitis A, she said, is a tough virus that can withstand the very harsh acids in our stomach as it passes through our system. It’s not susceptible to freezing, and it can only be removed from food products when it’s exposed to a high enough temperature.

It also has a long incubation period — the time between being exposed to the virus to the time you exhibit symptoms, she said. The incubation period for hepatitis A is between 15 days to 50 days.

“Because of that long incubation period, there are people who could have been exposed to it early on,” Zbar said. “Two weeks before you show symptoms, you can be infectious. You don’t have the symptoms, but you could be transmitting the virus.”

The second worker was not symptomatic until much later on, Zbar said, and was tested after seeking medical care for their symptoms. 

“That’s how we learned about it,” she said.

The process to disinfect the deli at the Superstore is underway, she said, and how long it will take depends on how many food products are involved and the type of cleaning, but it should be wrapped up fairly soon.

More than 2,000 adult Sudburians flocked to the health unit just before Christmas after the first case of hepatitis A was confirmed at the Real Canadian Superstore on Dec. 12. About 80 per cent of those people were adults, while the remainder were 18 years of age or younger.

Today, the health unit vaccinated 159 adults and 50 children.

Wash your hands — it’s one of the most effective way of preventing hepatitis A, Zbar said.

“If you develop symptoms of hepatitis A, don’t go to work, especially if you are a food handler, and seek medical attention.”

Customers with impacted product in their house should discarded it or return it to the store. Anyone with further questions or concerns should contact Public Health.

Vaccine clinics will be held at the health unit’s main office, 1300 Paris St. in Sudbury. No appointment is needed and there is parking on site. Check for clinic wait times. Clinic times are:

  • Jan. 3, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Jan. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The health unit will reassess whether to hold more special clinics after Jan. 5. Announcements will be made on their website and through social media.

Only one dose of the hepatitis A vaccine is needed. This dose is provided for free to people who consumed the food within the last 14 days (that’s when the vaccine is effective).

Common hep A symptoms include fever, stomach pain or discomfort, dark urine, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, loss of appetite, clay or ash-coloured bowel movements, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

If you are concerned that you may have been infected with hepatitis A or if you have questions about getting the vaccine, contact Public Health Sudbury and Districts at 705-522-9200 (toll-free 1-866-522-9200), visit for updates, or speak with your primary care provider as soon as possible.

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Quebec health officials confirm 25 monkeypox cases now in province – Global News



Quebec public health officials are reporting a total of 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday.

Dr. Luc Boileau, interim public health director in the province, described it as a “serious outbreak” of the virus. Officials are investigating several more suspected cases.

“We had about 20 to 30 suspected cases under investigation so far,” Boileau said.

The province will also begin administering the Imvamune vaccine to close contacts of confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox as soon as Friday. A single dose will be provided within four days of exposure to the virus.

Quebec’s Health Ministry said in a statement that a second dose of the vaccine could be administered, but only if the risk of exposure is “still present 28 days later” and “only following a decision by public health authorities.”

READ MORE: Mass vaccinations for monkeypox not needed, WHO official says

Boileau said the majority of confirmed cases in the province are tied mostly to men who have had sexual relations with other men. There has been one case in a person under 18.

Last week, Quebec recorded the first cases of the virus in the country. The first suspected cases were reported on May 12 in Montreal.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980.

The virus spreads through prolonged closed contact. It can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and lesions.

— with files from Global News’ Dan Spector and the Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Quebec to start monkeypox vaccination of contacts as officials confirm 25 cases



MONTREAL — Quebec’s interim public health director says the province could start vaccinating people against monkeypox as soon as Friday.

Dr. Luc Boileau says there are now 25 confirmed cases of the disease in the province and about 30 suspected cases are under investigation.

He says the province has received supplies of smallpox vaccine from the federal government, and it will be administered to people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases of the disease.

Dr. Caroline Quach, the chair of Quebec’s immunization committee, says the vaccine has been shown to prevent monkeypox in animal studies if it is administered within four days of an exposure and can reduce severity if it is administered up to 14 days after an exposure.

She says the disease is transmitted only through prolonged close contact.

Boileau says the majority of cases are in adult men who have been in sexual contact with people who have the disease, and there has been one case in a person under 18.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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Monkeypox Warnings Ignored; Dominant COVID Strain Emerges; Better Paxlovid Access – Medpage Today



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Warning signs of the current monkeypox outbreak may have been ignored. (STAT)

The CDC issued a monkeypox travel alert encouraging “enhanced precautions” after cases were reported in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Roche announced it has developed three PCR test kits to detect the monkeypox virus.

The U.S. has a new dominant COVID-19 strain — BA.2.12.1 — a highly contagious sublineage of the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now accounts for 57.9% of all cases, according to CDC estimates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as Lt. Gov.Denny Heck, both tested positive for COVID-19, as did U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). (Seattle Times, The Hill)

As of Thursday at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll was 83,697,199 cases and 1,004,558 deaths, increases of 218,146 and 913, respectively, compared with this time Wednesday morning.

The Biden Administration, projecting COVID infections will continue to spread during the summer travel season announced additional steps to make nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) more accessible. (ABC News)

The White House also reported the launch of the first federally-supported test-to-treat COVID site.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior leaders of the government are to blame for booze-filled parties that violated the country’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to an investigative report. (NPR)

A mouse study suggested that maraviroc (Selzentry), a FDA-approved drug used to treat HIV, may be able to reverse middle-aged memory loss. (Nature)

The University of California system will be paying nearly $700 million to women who said they were sexually abused by a UCLA gynecologist over the course of several decades. (AP)

The parents of a 4-year-old girl spoke out about her mysterious case of pediatric hepatitis that required a liver transplant, one of 180 similar cases under investigation in the U.S. (Today)

Teva Pharmaceuticals has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of one lot of anagrelide capsules, which are used to treat thrombocythemia secondary to myeloproliferative neoplasms, due to dissolution test failure during routine stability testing.

Servier announced the FDA approved ivosidenib (Tibsovo) in combination with azacitidine for certain patients with newly diagnosed IDH1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.

A report from the American Medical Association shows that payers are not following the prior authorization reforms agreed to in 2018. (Fierce Healthcare)

The mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this month is a reminder that millions of Americans don’t have easy access to grocery stores. (NPR)

COVID-era misinformation is leading a wave of parents to reject ordinary childhood immunizations. (New York Times)

The FDA issued guidance spelling out rules for states that want to import certain prescription drugs from Canada.

  • Mike Bassett is a staff writer focusing on oncology and hematology. He is based in Massachusetts.

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