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Monkeypox questions and answers from Alberta experts after one case found in the province – Sherwood Park News



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After years of COVID-19 headlines, monkeypox is now in the news.

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As of June 3, Canada has confirmed 77 cases of the disease that’s been popping up around the world, with one case found in Alberta last week. According to chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the person diagnosed with monkeypox had close contact with a known case outside the province.

David Evans, a microbiology and immunology professor at the University of Alberta, and Timothy Caulfield, a professor in the U of A’s Faculty of Law and School of Public Health, spoke to Postmedia about what Albertans need to know now.

What causes monkeypox?

Like COVID-19, monkeypox is caused by a virus, but a different kind: COVID is caused by a coronavirus made of RNA, while monkeypox comes from what’s known as a poxvirus, made of DNA.

Monkeypox is specifically caused by an orthopoxvirus, a subfamily within that grouping that also includes the smallpox virus.

What do we know about the virus?

Monkeypox was first identified in a lab nearly 70 years ago, and unlike the virus that causes COVID, it isn’t new.

It’s endemic in several countries in west and central Africa, and health authorities there have experience tracking and treating it. But as what’s called a neglected tropical disease, monkeypox has gotten little global attention until the recent cases in non-endemic countries in Europe, as well as U.S. and Canada.

Evans, who specifically studies orthopoxviruses, explained that the monkeypox virus is sometimes used as a stand-in for research on smallpox.

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“If we want to test a vaccine that we think will work against smallpox, you check whether it’ll protect against monkeypox, for example.”

While there are still questions around the current disease spread, Evans said he sees “nothing unusual” about this strain of the monkeypox virus.

“It’s not mutating into a new, deadlier strain.”

How do you catch monkeypox?

Hinshaw emphasized last week that monkeypox “does not spread easily between people.” Close, direct contact with an infected person who has symptoms is the main way the disease spreads. There’s risk, too, from contact with items that have been contaminated, like a sick person’s bedsheets or the cutlery they used to eat a meal.

There’s also the potential for monkeypox to spread in respiratory droplets during “prolonged” contact between people.

A disproportionate number of cases in current outbreaks have been identified in men who have sex with men. But Caulfield stressed that anyone can get monkeypox, and the spread isn’t limited to sexual activity.“The disease is primarily spread through close contact, so if you are within a particular community where you might have more close contact, you’re going to see a spike in those communities,” he said.

“In the early days when this started, I was on social media talking about this very thing … and I got people pushing back saying, ‘No, that’s not true. This is a disease with the gay community.’That really demonstrates how important it is to make sure that information is accurate, that narratives aren’t alarming or stigmatizing.”

What happens if you catch monkeypox?

Symptoms can start out flu-like, with a fever, aches and swollen lymph nodes. After a few days, a rash appears that may spread — although in some recent cases, doctors have seen a more subtle rash with just a few sores in one area of the body.

In Alberta, if you think you’ve been in close contact with someone with monkeypox, or are having symptoms of the disease, you should self-isolate and call 811 or tell your doctor. The infection typically resolves after a few weeks, but the rash can be very painful and cause scarring.

While people should get checked if they think they have a reason to worry, the risk in this province is low.

“That’s not to say that, in the aggregate and from the perspective of global health, this isn’t a serious issue and something that deserves intense scrutiny,” Caulfield said.

“But on that individual risk level right now, I don’t think the average Albertan needs to be too concerned.”

With one case confirmed in Alberta, what now?

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Howard Njoo has said that the entire Canadian population is likely susceptible to monkeypox because routine vaccination against smallpox stopped in 1972.

But that doesn’t mean we’re in for a new monkeypox pandemic. It’s much less infectious than COVID, especially when compared to the Omicron variant.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the country has a small stockpile of three types of smallpox vaccine that can also work against monkeypox, including a newer vaccine that has far fewer side effects than the shots people would have had before routine immunization stopped.

In Quebec, where there are currently more than 70 confirmed cases of monkeypox, the province is giving access to the vaccine to high-risk contacts of a confirmed or probable monkeypox case. PHAC has said they’re watching the situation closely, but a mass vaccination campaign isn’t necessary at the moment.

Evans said past history of monkeypox outbreaks have historically been small and limited, and there’s more work ahead to find out what’s happening this time

“I think that it’s more the epidemiology of how it got into a particular population and then got spread. That is the difference in this particular case.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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Toronto Public Health hosting pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics throughout Canada Day weekend –



Toronto Public Health continues to host summer pop-up vaccination clinics across the city in partnership with Toronto’s Canada Day festivals and special events. This is part of Team Toronto’s continued efforts to bring COVID-19 vaccination opportunities to places residents live, work and play.

“As people gather to celebrate Canada Day across the city, Team Toronto will be out helping residents get vaccinated against COVID-19 and keep their vaccinations up to date,” said Mayor John Tory. “We have made such progress thanks to our world-leading vaccination efforts, and that’s why we’re continuing to work throughout this holiday and into the summer to help deliver vaccine doses.”

TPH will host the following vaccination clinics in early July:

• High Park Canada Day Festival at High Park, 1873 Bloor St. W., Friday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• East York Canada Day Festival at Stan Wadlow Park. 373 Cedarvale Ave., Friday, July 1, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Canada Day event at Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge St. Friday, July 1, 2 to 7 p.m.

• CIMA Mayor’s Cricket Trophy event at Sunnybrook Park, 1132 Leslie St. Saturday, July 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Lakeshore Ribfest at 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Dr. Saturday July 2 and Sunday, July 3, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Afrofest at Woodbine Park, 1695 Queen St. E. Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10, 1 to 7:30 p.m.

• Dragon Boat Challenge (GWN Sport Regatta) at Marilyn Bell Park, 1095 Lakeshore Blvd. W. Saturday July 9, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

These family-friendly and youth-friendly clinics will provide first, second, third, fourth and children’s COVID-19 doses to eligible residents age five and up on a walk-in basis, with no appointment or health card required. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be offered by TPH nurses, who will also answer COVID-19 and vaccine-related questions.

Residents can continue to get vaccinated at city-run immunization clinics, primary care offices and more than 525 pharmacies. A full list of clinic locations and hours is available on the City’s COVID-19: Where to Get Vaccinated webpage.

As of Monday, July 4, the city-run immunization clinic at Metro Hall will operate Monday to Friday noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents can find a pharmacy offering COVID-19 vaccination by using the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 pharmacy vaccine locations webpage.

All eligible residents are encouraged to get their third and fourth dose as soon as possible. As with vaccines for other diseases, people are protected best when they stay up to date. COVID-19 vaccines have been scientifically proven to lower the risk of illness, hospitalization and death while protecting oneself, loved ones and the community, and residents with three doses had the lowest rates of hospitalization, ICU and death over any other level of vaccination.

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Style File: Smart sunscreens – Montreal Gazette



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Sunscreen is always a good idea.

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Skin cancers are the most common forms of cancer in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. And severe sunburns are noted as “an important risk factor for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers,” according to the agency.

With this in mind, it’s important to slather, smooth, spray — or whatever your chosen format of sun protection may be — this summer.

Here are four smart sunscreen options to consider adding to your daily sun-protection plan:

Tint time

From the French brand La Roche-Posay, this “ultralight” sunscreen formula features a universal tint to match most skin tones. See you later, face makeup. The Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra Fluid boasts a sun protection factor (that’s the SPF) of 50, thanks to 100 per cent mineral filters. Suitable for sensitive skin, the broad-spectrum sunscreen — it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, is sweat resistant and water resistant for up to 40 minutes.

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$35.95 | Shoppers Drug Mart,

Double duty

This advanced sunscreen formula from Shiseido acts as a moisturizer, sunscreen and face primer all-in-one formula. The Urban Environment Oil-Free Sunscreen has an SPF of 42 and features skin-loving ingredients such as spirulina and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and smooth skin while broad-spectrum UV filters protect against ultraviolet rays.

$45 | Sephora,

Smooth operator

Perfect for those who struggle with acne, this Clear as Day SPF 46 from the brand Starface is vegan and cruelty-free, while also being oil-free and non-comedogenic. The fragrance-free formula features a unique gel texture and is completely clear so there’s no fear of a white cast on skin. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes, so you can spend a little extra time splish-splashing about.

$32 |

All-over option

Sun protection doesn’t stop at the face, neck and décolletage. Introduce head-to-toe coverage to your summer routine with the Garnier Ombrelle Sensitive Expert Body Lotion SPF 60. The hypoallergenic sunscreen formula features broad-spectrum coverage, is fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested, non-comedogenic and water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Plus, the lotion formula is easy to apply, and absorbs quickly.

$24.99 | London Drugs,

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Mysterious staggering disease in cats down to previously unknown virus – New Scientist



A previously unknown rustrela virus might be the cause of a staggering disease that affects cats in some parts of Europe


1 July 2022

Pet cats in some parts of Europe can sometimes develop a mysterious disease

Laurie 4593/Shutterstock

The cause of a brain disease in cats that makes them develop symptoms such as staggering is a previously unknown virus, a study suggests. The pathogen is a rustrela virus and is probably carried by wood mice.

The findings show that rustrela viruses are more diverse and widespread than previously thought, according to Kaspar Matiasek at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and his colleagues. They write that the viruses might cause neurological diseases in other mammals …

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