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Outbreaks at O'Leary hospital and Prince County corrections centre over, CPHO says – CBC.ca

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Outbreaks at the Community Hospital O’Leary and Prince County Correctional Centre are now over, according to the Chief Public Health Office.

In a release late Thursday afternoon, the CPHO said that there are now two people in hospital due to COVID-19 and one person in hospital who was admitted for other reasons and was either COVID positive on admission or tested positive after being admitted.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday there are 310 new cases. These new cases are still under investigation.

There are 2,148 active cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. and there have been 11,257 total cases. Over the last seven days there have been an average of 213 cases per day.

There are still outbreaks in certain high-risk settings, including three long-term care facilities: Andrews of Park West, Clinton View Lodge and South Shore Villa.

The community care facility Corrigan Home also has an outbreak. There are 21 early-learning and child-care centres with cases or outbreaks — 13 are open, two are closed and six are operating at a modified or reduced capacity.

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Montrealers 'do not have to panic' about monkeypox, Drouin says – Montreal Gazette

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Public health authorities are investigating 17 suspected cases of monkeypox in the Montreal area. It is the only known outbreak in Canada of the rare disease, which can cause painful pustules and scabs to break out. Recent outbreaks have been reported in Europe and the United States.

Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin said authorities will put protective measures in place, but stressed that all cases so far have been minor and there is no cause for alarm.

“We do not have to panic at this time. It’s not something that is going to go to sustained community transmission,” she said at a hastily organized news conference Thursday, the day after Radio-Canada reported there were several suspected cases in the city.

“It’s not something you can acquire if you go to the grocery store or go on public transportation.”

The disease is spread primarily through close, sustained contact, which includes but is not limited to sexual contact, Drouin said. Contacts considered at risk are those who live in the same household with an infected person, or who have had sexual relations with someone who has had the disease.

To date, 15 suspected cases have been identified in Montreal, as well as one on the South Shore and one on the North Shore. The infected are mainly men who had sexual relations with other men, between the ages of 30 and 55.

Drouin stressed that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease and warned against stigmatizing a particular segment of the community, as anyone can catch the virus.

The first cases were declared on May 12 from clinics specializing in sexually transmitted diseases. The cases were initially thought to be chancroid, a rare sexually transmitted disease that causes painful genital ulcers.

It wasn’t until Tuesday, when authorities learned of a suspected case from the United States who had travelled to Montreal, that monkeypox was suspected. Several of the cases in Montreal have been linked to a traveller who came from Boston.

Montreal’s cases have not yet been confirmed by a laboratory, but Drouin said recent outbreaks in Europe and a case reported in the United States suggest they are likely cases of the virus.

Monkeypox is typically limited to Africa, and rare cases in the United States and elsewhere are usually linked to travel there. A small number of confirmed or suspected cases have been reported this month in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain.

Drouin said the disease is transmitted by close contact and droplets.

Monkeypox typically begins with such symptoms as fever, headache, backache and fatigue, then progresses to a rash on the face and body. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the swelling or enlargement of lymph nodes that accompanies monkeypox distinguishes it from smallpox.

The incubation period is seven to 17 days and most infections of monkeypox last two to four weeks, the agency says. Montreal officials said there is no treatment at this time.

The first symptoms of the disease that were identified in Montreal have been traced back to April 29. People who have been in contact with a suspected case will not have to isolate, but they are asked to monitor for symptoms and go to a doctor if they suspect they have contracted the disease. Health workers in contact with possible cases are advised to wear full protective gear, including a gown, N95 mask and gloves.

The Public Health Agency of Canada notes that the smallpox vaccine, which was routinely administered to Canadians born before 1972, protects against monkeypox. Smallpox was eradicated in 1977.

Some people who have been in contact with cases in the U.K. have received a smallpox vaccine as protection. Drouin said the decision on whether similar actions will be taken here depend on availability of the vaccine, and will be decided on a provincial and federal level.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that it had confirmed the first U.S. case of monkeypox virus infection of 2022. The individual is an adult male who recently travelled to Canada. The agency didn’t indicate what province or provinces he visited and did not respond to questions.

This story will be updated.

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Canada’s COVID-19 infections among adults tripled in early 2022 due to Omicron: study

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TORONTO — The number of Canadian adults infected with COVID-19 tripled during the fifth wave of the pandemic compared with the total number of adults infected in the previous four waves, according to a new study led by Toronto researchers.

More than 5,000 Canadian adults — members of the Angus Reid Forum, a public polling cohort — participated in the fourth phase of the Action to Beat Coronavirus (Ab-C) study. The findings of the study were published as a letter to the editor in The New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday.

The adult participants took a self-administered dried blood spot test between Jan. 15 and March 15, 2022 and sent the blood samples back to the researchers for analysis. The research team then tested the samples for antibodies related to COVID-19.

From those results, the researchers found nearly 30 per cent of Canadian adults were infected during the first Omicron wave of infections compared with roughly 10 per cent who had been infected in the previous four waves.

Of those fifth waveinfections, one million were among the country’s 2.3 million unvaccinated adult population — representing 40 per cent of all unvaccinated adults, the study notes.

Patrick Brown, a lead author of the Ab-C study and biostatistician at the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital, said the study is meant to portray a “complete and representative picture” of COVID-19 in the country in the absence of widespread PCR testing and COVID-19 data tracking.

“This is quite important for us to be able to understand COVID in the population,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday.

“The testing data is incomplete and we’ve essentially stopped PCR testing for the most part in Canada, or in Ontario, at least, so having a representative sample of people who receive these test kits is very important to figure out how much COVID there has been and how much immunity we have in the population.”

The study also found that antibody levels were much lower amongst adults with only two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine compared to those with three doses, meaning those with three doses had stronger immunity in the face of the virus.

And amongst the unvaccinated population — including those who had a COVID-19 infection — their antibody levels were “quite” lower than people with three doses of the vaccine, Brown noted.

“(In) Canada, we had quite a bit less COVID-19 than some other countries, especially the U.S. We have less natural protection and we’re really relying on vaccines in Canada to build up immunity in our population,” he said.

“Certainly three doses plus an infection was the maximum protection, but three doses of vaccine certainly gave a very good amount of protection — a big improvement over two doses alone.”

The Ab-C study is a collaboration between Unity Health Toronto, the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Angus Reid Institute and the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Sinai Health. It’s funded by the federal government through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

The team of researchers has been tracking the pandemic in Canada with periodic polling about lived experience and blood sample collection since May 2020.

Brown said the next phase of the study is already being conducted. The team has started surveying roughly 1,300 Canadian adults who were not infected by the initial Omicron variant known as BA.1 to determine whether they were infected by the Omicron subvariant called BA.2 from March to June 2022.

“We are preparing test kits now to send out our panel of people we’ve come back to several times, and this will be the fifth round of tests we’re sending them to better understand the second wave of Omicron,” he said.

“We found that the number of cases reported by public health isn’t as high as the previous wave, the number of hospitalizations hasn’t risen very much, but there has been a lot of infection … so we’re expecting to see that there’s been quite a lot of COVID throughout the population.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2022.

———

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

Noushin Ziafati, The Canadian Press

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Monkeypox: Cases found and suspected in Portugal, Spain – CTV News

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LISBON –

Portuguese authorities said on Wednesday they had identified five cases of rare monkeypox infection and Spain’s health services are testing eight potential cases after Britain put Europe on alert for the virus.

The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases, are all stable. They are all men and they all live in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, the Portuguese health authorities said.

European Health authorities are monitoring any outbreak of the disease since Britain has reported its first case of monkeypox on May 7 and found six more in the country since then. 

None of the eight suspected cases in Spain has been confirmed yet, the Spanish Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder, first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased in the last decade.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

It is not particularly infectious between people, Spanish health authorities said, and most people infected recover within a few weeks, though severe cases have been reported.

Four of the cases detected in Britain self-identified as gay, bi-sexual or other men who have sex with men, the U.K. Health Security Agency said, adding evidence suggested there may be a transmission in the community.

The agency in Britain urged men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.

The Spanish Health Ministry and Portugal’s DGS health authority Spanish did not release any information on the sexual orientation of the monkeypox patients or suspected patients.

The two countries sent out alerts to health professionals in order to identify more possible cases.

(Reporting by Patricia Rua in Lisbon and Christina Thykjaer in Madrid; Editing by Inti Landauro and Alison Williams)

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