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Presumptive cases of avian flu in skunks, foxes found in Sask. – CBC.ca

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Presumptive cases of avian flu are showing up in some species of mammals in Saskatchewan.

Trent Bollinger is a wildlife pathologist at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. 

He told CBC News the first presumptive case of avian flu in a “major carnivore” came into the lab about three weeks ago. 

As of the last week, six to ten more have been tested.

“These are primarily skunks, with the occasional red fox, that have neurological signs which could be attributed to (high pathogenic) avian influenza virus,” he said. 

Bollinger noted there are other viral diseases — such as distemper and rabies — that cause similar symptoms in these species.

However, recent molecular diagnostic tests point to avian flu as the most likely cause in at least three of the cases.

“We have several others that that we’ve done autopsies on and are investigating further. And that could cause the numbers to go up,” Bollinger said. 

The transmission to mammals is not a surprise to Bollinger, who said cases have been showing up in the United States. 

“But we’re seeing a fair number, which is maybe a bit unusual. So we’ll see as time goes on,” he said. 

Mortality to continue through summer

The pathologist says he expects more waterfowl, which are at high risk of viral transmission, will succumb to the avian flu through the summer.

He noted a “peak of activity”, referring to the number of birds dying from the virus, during the spring migration through the prairies. 

While he expects those numbers to decline through the next few months, there’s another vulnerable group: baby birds. 

“We’re going to have new cohorts of ducklings and young juveniles that that could be exposed as well,” he said. 

“So we may see, again, an uptick in mortalities that the public is observing.”

Bollinger said bird species most affected by the virus appear to be “relatively abundant”, and that mortality rates are not significantly impacting those populations at this time.

He noted the bigger concern is spread into poultry flocks, which have to be depopulated en masse and have economic implications. 

Bollinger said transmission to people and domestic pets, such as dogs and cats, doesn’t seem to be happening.

What to watch for

Bollinger said people who spot an animal “acting abnormally”, should avoid touching the animal, and contact a conservation officer.

However, if the animal subsequently dies and there’s concern it could be avian flu, people can pick up the animal with latex gloves or a plastic bag to get it to a diagnostic lab.

“Bring it into the vet college here. We will do an autopsy on it, determine cause of death and then report back those findings,” he said.

He added that the lab has not seen the disease in domestic pets, such as dogs and cats, and there’s no concern about transmission there at the moment. 

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Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.

The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.

Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.

To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.

While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.

The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.

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Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail

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More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.

WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario

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Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.

From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.

Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.

Officials said it has been a huge success.

“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.

“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”

Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.

In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.

“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.

“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”

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