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No reported cases of coronavirus in Ottawa

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is bracing for the arrival of coronavirus, but so far no cases have been reported in this city.

Health officials have identified a second presumptive case in Toronto after the wife of a man believed to be Ontario’s first presumptive case of the virus began showing similar symptoms. Officials say the woman has been in “self-isolation” since arriving in Toronto, while her husband remains in stable condition in hospital.

Officials continue to identify people who may have come into contact with the couple on their flight from China, but OPH says it hasn’t been informed of any in Ottawa.

According to Ottawa’s medical officer of health, health officials here are already taking precautions.

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“When people present with a respiratory illness … they are screened for their travel history, especially considering any contact with the Wuhan city or provinces nearby in China, any contact with ill people who have been in Wuhan,” Dr. Vera Etches told CBC.

“People are getting the message: when they return from a country or area that is affected, to monitor themselves for symptoms of a respiratory infection.”

Symptoms includes fever, cough, runny nose and shortness of breath, Etches said.

Phone ahead

Etches said anyone who believe they may have been exposed to coronavirus and is showing symptoms should phone ahead before arriving at the emergency room.

“We’ll walk them through the process … if it looks like they should be tested for the new coronavirus,” Etches said.

So far, no tests have been ordered in Ottawa.

 

Dr. Vera Etches is Ottawa’s medical officer of health. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

 

“Right now, this is very low-risk still for transmission of this new virus in Canada. So, it’s very unlikely that someone would come in contact with the virus here,” she said.

Nevertheless, Etches cautions people to wash their hands frequently, and to refrain from touching their eyes and nose. Viruses are often contracted by coming into contact with mucous membranes.

Masks unnecessary

There have been reports of people in Ottawa buying up medical masks, likely to ship to family in China, but according to Etches, “here in Ottawa, there is no reason to wear a mask if you’re well.”

Wearing a mask likely won’t prevent a healthy person from getting sick anyway, Etches said.

“They’re not fitted. Air can get around them. People touch them, they touch their eyes, the environment. It gives a false sense of security. So really, the main thing is, keep your hands clean.”

Etches also urges people to check reputable sources, such as the Ottawa Public Health website, for up-to-date information on coronavirus.

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Ask the Doctors | Early RSV season primarily impacts infants – Eureka Times-Standard

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Dear Doctors: What can I do to protect my baby from RSV? What are the symptoms? People are talking about a “tripledemic,” and it has my husband and me worried. We’re both vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19, and we are being super careful when we’re out and about. What else can we do?

Dear Reader: RSV is short for respiratory syncytial virus. It’s a common winter virus that can affect people of any age. In most cases, RSV infection causes mild symptoms similar to the common cold. However, infants and children younger than 2, whose immune systems are still developing, are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill.

RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia in infants and young children in the United States. It is also the leading cause of bronchiolitis in that age group. That’s a lung infection in which the smallest airways become inflamed and swollen, and an increase in mucus production impedes air flow into and out of the lungs.

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This year, as with the flu, RSV season has arrived early. Hospitals throughout the U.S. are reporting a surge of serious infections among infants and younger children.

The virus enters the body through the airways and the mucous membranes. It can remain viable on hard surfaces — such as a doorknob, night table or dinnerware — for several hours. It can also persist on softer surfaces, such as a tissue or the skin. Someone can become infected by breathing in the viral particles that remain airborne following a cough or a sneeze, or by touching their mouth, nose or eyes after direct contact with contaminated droplets.

Someone who is sick with RSV typically remains contagious for between four and eight days. However, due to their still-developing immune systems, it’s possible for infants to continue to spread the virus for several weeks, even after symptoms of the disease have abated. There is no vaccine for this virus, and no targeted treatments. Prevention relies on the same precautions you use to avoid any respiratory illness. That is, keep your baby away from people who are ill, avoid close contact with people outside your home and be vigilant about hand hygiene.

Symptoms of RSV arise between three and six days after infection. They can include a runny nose, sneezing and coughing, fever, a decrease in appetite and lung congestion that can cause wheezing. These symptoms tend to be progressive, arriving in stages as the body mounts its attack against the virus. But in very young patients, the first, and sometimes only noticeable, symptoms of RSV can be increased fussiness, a decrease in activity and difficulty breathing.

Treatment for RSV consists of managing symptoms. The specific avenue of care depends on a child’s age, general health and symptoms. In infants, treating RSV includes a focus on adequate hydration and remaining alert for any signs of problems with breathing. The majority of RSV infections run their course in a week to 10 days. Parents of younger infants should check with their pediatricians for guidance on treatment, particularly medications. If your child has difficulty breathing, isn’t drinking enough fluids or has worsening symptoms, call your health care provider right away.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an internist and associate professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Send your questions to askthedoctors@mednet.ucla.edu, or write: Ask the Doctors, c/o UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, 10960 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1955, Los Angeles, CA, 90024. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

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AIDS Memorial Quilt comes to Palm Beach County – WPTV News Channel 5 West Palm

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PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The largest piece of community folk art in the world, a tribute to victims of AIDS, is on display in Palm Beach County.

Now through Dec. 15, three different panels of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, often known as the AIDS Quilt, will be on display at three different Palm Beach County Public Library locations.

The quilt is a giant tribute to the lives of people who have died due to AIDS or AIDS-related causes.

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The quilt weighs around 54 tons and was started in the 1980s during the early years of the AIDS pandemic.

Three different panels of the AIDS Quilt will be on display at three different Palm Beach County Public Library locations through Dec. 15.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is comprised of nearly 50,000 panels containing 91,000 names of the men, women and children who lost their lives to the immune system disease.

The blocks, which make up the panels, are stitched by individuals in communities across the nation, including one librarian right in Palm Beach County.

Katrina Brockway, a librarian at the Hagen Ranch Road Branch Library, said she feels it brings tragedy a bit closer to home.

Katrina Brockway, librarian at the Hagen Ranch Road Branch Library discusses the AIDS Quilt visit
Librarian Katrina Brockway explains the impact of seeing the AIDS Quilt in person.

“It becomes so much more personal when you see these quilt panels and all of these people who were loved and didn’t have the same opportunity to escape this,” Brockway said. “So you can remember them, what they went through, and what their loved ones have gone through.”

Visitors can see the quilt panels during normal library hours at the library’s main branch on Summit Boulevard at the Jupiter branch and at the west Boca Raton branch.

Click here for the library’s hours and more information on upcoming AIDS events at the library.

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Experimental Alzheimer's drug shows promise – but there are many hurdles still to overcome – The Indian Express

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The first drug that can slow the rate of decline in Alzheimer’s patients has been found. The experimental drug, called lecanemab, is an antibody that targets the toxic clumps of amyloid protein associated with the mind-robbing disease. While these results are cause for celebration, there are still significant questions about its safety and rollout.

The full results of the phase 3 lecanemab drug trial (the final stage of testing in humans) have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial showed that patients receiving the drug had a 27% slower disease progression than those receiving a placebo after 18 months of treatment.

Overall, this is good news. For the first time, we have a potential treatment that has a demonstrated effect on both the symptoms and underlying pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. These results are a breakthrough in the search for treatments for this devastating disease and give a strong indication that the course of the disease can be altered.

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But the results paint a mixed picture for those with Alzheimer’s. On one hand, this is the first drug that has been shown to have any effect on slowing the progression of the disease. On the other hand, the apparent effects are slight and the risks are not inconsiderable.

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About 1,800 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s took part in the global trial. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either lecanemab or placebo intravenously every two weeks. The study was “double blind”, meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was receiving the experimental drug and who was receiving the placebo until the end of the trial.

Throughout the study, the participants’ disease progression was tracked using the clinical dementia rating scale, which scores the patient on cognition and ability to live independently. The participants’ brains were also scanned for the two proteins commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease: amyloid and tau.

Alzheimer’s scores in both groups worsened during the 18 months of the study, but the rate of decline was slower in those receiving the lecanemab. Also, the magnitude of the slowing, while statistically significant (not likely to be due to chance) was small – a 0.45 reduction on an 18-point scale.

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Some experts are concerned that this effect may not be clinically meaningful. In a statement to the Science Media Centre, Rob Howard, professor of old age psychiatry at UCL, said that “none of the reported results, including the primary outcome, reached accepted levels of improvement to constitute a clinically meaningful treatment effect”.

The success of lecanemab was also measured by the amount of amyloid and tau protein in those on the experimental drug compared with those receiving the placebo infusion. The results showed a reduction in these proteins in those receiving lecanemab.

Indeed, the levels of brain amyloid were reduced to below the threshold needed for a positive Alzheimer’s diagnosis. However, markers of brain cell death were unaffected, indicating that amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease is just one mechanism in a complicated disease landscape.

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Side-effects

About one in four participants (26.6%) in the lecanemab group experienced brain swelling or a bleed on the brain (which can be both minor or major). STAT, a medical news website, reported that a man died of a brain haemorrhage after receiving lecanemab, citing a possible interaction with his blood thinning medication.

A short while later, the journal Science reported a second death of a trial patient, also after receiving treatment for a stroke. However, the drug’s developer, Eisa, told Science: “All the available safety information indicates that lecanemab therapy is not associated with an increased risk of death overall or from any specific cause.

Nevertheless, given the possibility that patients may be on the drug for the rest of their lives, more research is needed on safety and interactions with existing medications.

It’s also important to find out how long-lived the improvements in cognition are, and whether the drug continues to slow the rate of decline, or if the results plateau – or even decline.

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It should be noted that only patients who had a sufficient level of amyloid detected in the brain or spinal fluid – which requires a PET brain scan or an invasive lumbar puncture – were eligible to take part in this phase 3 trial. In the UK, Alzheimer’s is currently diagnosed via an interview with a doctor. Dr Susan Kohlhaas, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, says the NHS is not ready for a new era of dementia treatment.

Restructuring NHS dementia services to provide routine and timely PET scans or lumbar punctures would be a costly and lengthy process.

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Based on previous results, Eisai applied to the US drug regulator (the Food and Drug Administration) for accelerated approval of their drug. A decision is expected by January 6 2023. If accelerated approval is granted by the regulator, these latest results will probably support an application for full approval.

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