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New pneumonia in China not likely high risk for Canada – National Observer

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The federal public health agency says it believes Canadians are at low risk of contracting a new type of pneumonia that has killed one person and made dozens sick in central China, but it has issued a warning to travellers to and from the city of Wuhan.

The agency is advising travellers to and from the city in China’s central Hubei province to avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, areas where animals may be slaughtered or surfaces with animal droppings or secretions.

Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam has also been in close contact with provincial and territorial counterparts to share information about the illness, which has sparked concerns over a possible outbreak similar to the SARS virus, which killed hundreds in 2002 and 2003.

The U.N.’s World Health Organization said Thai officials have reported that a traveller from Wuhan has been hospitalized in Thailand with the virus — the first confirmed case of the virus found outside China, where a total of 41 people are suffering from this new “coronavirus.”

A 61-year-old man has also died from the illness — China’s first known death from the mysterious new virus.

The outbreak has been traced to Wuhan, where it affected several dozen people who had been to a major meat and seafood market.

Canada’s public health agency says the likelihood of an outbreak in Canada linked to the cases in China is considered low at this time mainly because of the lack of any clear evidence of person-to-person spread. But officials are remaining vigilant.

“Given we are at the height of respiratory illness season, it is not unexpected that countries, including Canada, may investigate or test travellers with severe pneumonia who are returning from the affected area,” said Anna Maddison, a senior media relations adviser with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“This is to be expected given our surveillance systems have been alerted and out of an abundance of caution to rule out the possibility of infection with the novel coronavirus.”

A statement issued Monday by the WHO said it is working with officials in Thailand and China following the report of the confirmed case outside China. The WHO’s director-general is consulting with the agency’s emergency committee, which generally decides whether viral outbreaks merit an expanded response from health authorities.

China says the cause of the Wuhan outbreak remains unknown but has sought to play down speculation that it could be a reappearance of the SARS epidemic.

Chinese scientists have undertaken gene sequencing for the newly-identified coronavirus. This allows Canada’s health agency to implement diagnostic tests for this novel virus, Maddison said.

“PHAC is continuing to collaborate with partners internationally as well as working with federal, provincial and territorial partners and public health authorities and to ensure Canada’s preparedness to rapidly identify and prevent the spread of this emerging disease should it present in Canada.”

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.

Common symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous kinds of coronaviruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2020.

— With files from The Associated Press.

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Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID after exposure to the virus: study – Ponoka News

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MONTREAL — Hydroxychloroquine is not effective in preventing the development of COVID-19 in people exposed to the novel coronavirus, a new study involving Canadian researchers concludes.

The results are published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The clinical trial was led in Canada by Dr. Todd Lee and Dr. Emily McDonald of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, in conjunction with partners at the University of Manitoba and University of Alberta.

The Canadian research is co-ordinated with a large study by Dr. David Boulware at the University of Minnesota.

It is the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to be completed assessing the effectiveness of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in preventing COVID-19.

“We conducted an international, randomized controlled trial to look at whether the use of hydroxychloroquine in patients who’d had a high-risk exposure to COVID-19 would prevent the development of symptomatic disease compared to placebo,” Lee said in an interview.

Participants were recruited from Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and across the United States. In total, the study involved 821 asymptomatic adults who had been exposed at home or in the health-care setting to someone with COVID-19.

Among them, 719 participants reported a high-risk exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 — being within two metres of the person for more than 10 minutes — without adequate personal protective equipment.

Most of these people were healthy young adults living in the community, with an average age of 40.

Within four days of exposure, participants received the placebo or hydroxychloroquine by mail, to be taken for a period of five days, beginning with a higher dose on the first day. Researchers and participants were not told which treatment was being administered.

“The approach was if we could load the patient with hydroxychloroquine in the tissues before the incubation period was over, then maybe we could prevent those people who’ve been exposed from getting sick,” Lee said.

“There was some observational, anecdotal stories suggesting that this was going to be effective, and the purpose of the randomized controlled trial was to demonstrate whether that was true or not true.”

Out of 821 participants, 107 developed COVID-19 — confirmed either by a test or by compatible symptoms — during the 14 days of followup.

Among those who received hydroxychloroquine, 49 developed the disease or symptoms like fever and cough, compared to 58 in the group who received the placebo, meaning that statistically, the drug was no more effective than the placebo.

“We found that there was no statistical difference between patients who got the placebo — which was a vitamin pill — versus those who received the active drug hydroxychloroquine,” Lee said.

Two patients were hospitalized, one from each group, but no one has died.

Side effects from the medication, such as nausea and abdominal discomfort, were more common in patients taking hydroxychloroquine than in those receiving placebo.

Hydroxychloroquine is still being studied around the world, including whether it could reduce the risk of infection during exposure or lower the risk of hospitalization in infected patients. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine even though he has not tested positive for the coronavirus.

At the McGill University Health Centre, a trial looking at early treatment in the community is underway.

“I would have loved to have a positive study, but in circumstances like this you need the negative studies too so you can redirect attention,” Lee said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020.

Jean-Benoit Legault, The Canadian Press

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N.B. reports two new cases of COVID-19 in Campbellton region; case involving doctor takes ugly, racist turn – CTV News

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HALIFAX —
There are two new cases of COVID-19 in the Campbellton region of New Brunswick.

“One case is linked to a close contact of a previously identified case in the outbreak and the other one is linked to Manoir de la Vallée, a long-term care facility in Atholville,” the government said in a news release.

The new cases are a person in their 40s and a person in their 60s.

New Brunswick public health said a Quebec resident has also tested positive for COVID-19 and the case is linked to the Atholville long-term care facility. The case will be counted in Quebec’s statistics.

The Campbellton COVID-19 cluster started when a child in the Campbellton region was diagnoed on May 21.

Five days later, an individual in their nineties tested positive in the same zone.

The next day, the province announced a person in their fifties had tested positive and that the two previous cases were linked to this individual, a health-care worker.

A total of 15 cases make up the Campbellton cluster.

The situation has sparked rumours and speculation about the doctor on many social media feeds.

The doctor has been publicly criticized for his action and now, the case is taking on an ugly racist tone.

Including, posts like this one:

Today, the medical society said it’s deeply concerned that the physician — Dr. Jean Robert Ngola — has been the target of racist attacks.

“It is understandable that citizens are concerned and upset about the COVID-19 outbreak in northern New Brunswick,” said Dr. Chris Goodyear, the president of the Medical Society of New Brunswick. “Dr. Ngola has admitted making an ‘error in judgment’ by crossing the border into Quebec and returning to New Brunswick without self-isolating. However, there is no excuse for the dissemination of his personal information or the racist verbal attacks and false reports to police that he has endured.”

Campbellton-Dalhousie MLA Guy Arseneault says the behaviour is unpardonable.

“There’s racism in Canada, there’s racism anywhere, it’s what level it’s at, and I think that it heightens in a state of anxiety,” he said.

Arseneault returned home after the house adjourned late last week and went into self-isolation.

He was tested and it came back negative.

“Let’s get all the facts, let’s not pass judgement,” Arseneault. “Let’s concentrate on the virus and put all our energies and our thoughts there.”

Since the outbreak began, five residents and three staff at an Atholville special care home have tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the five residents, three are in hospital.

Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard says they are in stable condition.

“We put three admin supports in, and those supports, who are also familiar with the home and the residents, are in contact with families on a daily basis,” Shephard said.

Shephard also said because of extra-mural help staffing levels at the home are stable after 10 staff resigned last week.

‘Remain vigilant’

The province’s chief medical officer of health cautioned people to not let their guard down as they try to enjoy the nice weather.

“I remind New Brunswickers to remain vigilant and watch for symptoms since COVID-19 is going to be with us for a long time,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell.

The two new cases bring New Brunswick’s total of confirmed cases to 135. Of those, 120 had recovered before the Campbellton cluster emerged. That includes all of the province’s 15 active cases.

Five of those people are hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit. As of Wednesday, the province had performed 31,791 tests.

Check for symptoms

Anyone showing two of the following symptoms should contact Tele-Care 811 or their primary health-care provider for further direction:

  • fever above 38 C or signs of fever (such as chills);
  • new cough or worsening chronic cough;
  • sore throat;
  • runny nose;
  • headache;
  • new onset of fatigue;
  • new onset of muscle pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and
  • in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes. In this instance, testing will be done even if none of the other symptoms are present.

self-assessment will help you determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.

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Hydroxychloroquine doesn’t prevent COVID-19 in people exposed to the virus, study finds – Globalnews.ca

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Hydroxychloroquine is not effective in preventing the development of COVID-19 in people exposed to the novel coronavirus, a new study involving Canadian researchers concludes.

The results are published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The clinical trial was led in Canada by Dr. Todd Lee and Dr. Emily McDonald of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, in conjunction with partners at the University of Manitoba and University of Alberta.

The Canadian research is co-ordinated with a large study by Dr. David Boulware at the University of Minnesota.


READ MORE:
Medical journal questioning findings of hydroxychloroquine coronavirus study

It is the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to be completed assessing the effectiveness of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in preventing COVID-19.

Story continues below advertisement

“We conducted an international, randomized controlled trial to look at whether the use of hydroxychloroquine in patients who’d had a high-risk exposure to COVID-19 would prevent the development of symptomatic disease compared to placebo,” Lee said in an interview.

Participants were recruited from Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and across the United States. In total, the study involved 821 asymptomatic adults who had been exposed at home or in the health-care setting to someone with COVID-19.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Among them, 719 participants reported a high-risk exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 _ being within two metres of the person for more than 10 minutes — without adequate personal protective equipment.

Most of these people were healthy young adults living in the community, with an average age of 40.


READ MORE:
Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine as preventive measure against COVID-19

Within four days of exposure, participants received the placebo or hydroxychloroquine by mail, to be taken for a period of five days, beginning with a higher dose on the first day. Researchers and participants were not told which treatment was being administered.

“The approach was if we could load the patient with hydroxychloroquine in the tissues before the incubation period was over, then maybe we could prevent those people who’ve been exposed from getting sick,” Lee said.

Story continues below advertisement

“There was some observational, anecdotal stories suggesting that this was going to be effective, and the purpose of the randomized controlled trial was to demonstrate whether that was true or not true.”

Out of 821 participants, 107 developed COVID-19 — confirmed either by a test or by compatible symptoms — during the 14 days of followup.

Among those who received hydroxychloroquine, 49 developed the disease or symptoms like fever and cough, compared to 58 in the group who received the placebo, meaning that statistically, the drug was no more effective than the placebo.

“We found that there was no statistical difference between patients who got the placebo — which was a vitamin pill — versus those who received the active drug hydroxychloroquine,” Lee said.

Two patients were hospitalized, one from each group, but no one has died.






1:28
Coronavirus outbreak: U.K. health workers begin hydroxychloroquine trial


Coronavirus outbreak: U.K. health workers begin hydroxychloroquine trial

Side effects from the medication, such as nausea and abdominal discomfort, were more common in patients taking hydroxychloroquine than in those receiving placebo.

Story continues below advertisement

Hydroxychloroquine is still being studied around the world, including whether it could reduce the risk of infection during exposure or lower the risk of hospitalization in infected patients. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine even though he has not tested positive for the coronavirus.

At the McGill University Health Centre, a trial looking at early treatment in the community is underway.

“I would have loved to have a positive study, but in circumstances like this you need the negative studies too so you can redirect attention,” Lee said.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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