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Public health officials declare syphilis outbreak in Nova Scotia

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Public health officials have declared a provincial outbreak of syphilis after an increase in cases in 2019, according to a statement released by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) on Monday.

Syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) contracted through unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex. It can cause serious and permanent damage to the body if untreated.

According to the NSHA, preliminary data recorded 82 cases in Nova Scotia in 2019. That compares to approximately 50 cases in 2018 and 38 cases in 2017. The cases to date have been diagnosed in people ages 20 to 65 across the province.

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NSHA also stated there appeared to be an increasing proportion of cases among women (20 per cent) in 2019, compared to 10 per cent in 2018 and five per cent in 2017.

“Safer sex practices and getting tested for syphilis can help decrease the number of syphilis cases we are seeing in Nova Scotia currently,” Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Nova Scotia’s deputy medical officer of health, said in a media release. “Knowing your status for sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis, is really important for our health and also the health of others.”

Symptoms of syphilis may first appear 10 to 90 days after a person becomes infected, with the average period of time being 21 days. While some people may not experience any symptoms, syphilis can produce different symptoms at each stage of infection, including:

  • an open sore at the point of infection (genital area, anus, mouth or lips)
  • flu-like illness
  • muscle aches and pains
  • fatigue
  • a rash on the chest, back, palms of hands and bottoms of feet

Syphilis is treatable with antibiotics. Later stages of syphilis can cause serious impact on the brain, heart and other organs, or even death.

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Safe sex practices, including the use of condoms and oral dams for each sexual interaction, can help prevent syphilis. Unprotected sexual contact increases the risk of contracting syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections.

In order to prevent congenital syphilis, which is an infection in unborn babies or newborns that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects, NSHA said the province’s public health and reproductive care program recommends that doctors now test for syphilis twice during pregnancy.

“This second test, completed at 24 to 28 weeks, will complement the routine syphilis screening that takes place early in pregnancy,” NSHA stated.

To date, there have been no reported cases of congenital syphilis in Nova Scotia.

A syphilis outbreak was declared in the Halifax area in 2009, hitting a peak in 2013 with 84 cases that year. The Public Health Agency of Canada has put a syphilis outbreak investigation co-ordination committee in place to inform surveillance and outbreak control measures across the country, which may inform additional protection measures and recommendations.

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For now, Watson-Creed said, it’s most important that people know the signs and symptoms of syphilis, use protection for sexual activity and get tested for syphilis and other STIs if they are at risk.

“Being informed, taking action and protecting yourself are the best steps right now,” he said.

Nova Scotians can also call 811 for non-emergency health advice from a registered nurse.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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4 new coronavirus outbreaks in B.C., including 2 at private businesses – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
Public health teams are working to contain four more COVID-19 outbreaks in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, including two at private businesses.

The other two were discovered at long-term care facilities in Metro Vancouver. Fraser Health said individual staff members tested positive at Laurel Place in Surrey and Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge in Burnaby.

“Enhanced control measures have been put in place at each site. Fraser Health is working with staff to identify anyone who may have been exposed and is taking steps to protect the health of all staff, residents and families,” the health authority said in a news release.

Visitors have also been temporarily banned at both facilities, and residents and staff are being screened twice per day.

The two community outbreaks were identified at the Coast Spas Manufacturing facility on 202 Street in Langley and the Pace Processing plant on 55 Avenue in Surrey.

Fraser Health said there has been evidence of “transmission among staff” at both businesses. So far, 10 employees at Pace Processing and 12 employees at Coast Spas Manufacturing have tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials have ordered both locations to close as public health teams work with the operators to “strengthen their COVID-19 mitigation strategies,” Fraser Health said.

Meanwhile, another four outbreaks at health care facilities – PICS Assisted Living in Surrey, Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre in Delta, Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence in Mission and Thornebridge Gardens Retirement Residence in New Westminster – have been declared over.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are 16 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities, plus two in acute care units.

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Take a step back from social interactions, says B.C.'s top doctor – Richmond News

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VICTORIA — British Columbia reported 223 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, tipping the number of active infections over 2,000.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says in a statement infections have been detected at two more assisted-living or long-term care homes and there are two new community outbreaks.

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The latest health-care outbreaks are at Laurel Place in Surrey and Fair Haven Homes at Burnaby Lodge, while the community outbreaks involve Coast Spas Manufacturing and Pace Processing in Langley.

Outbreaks at a number of other care homes have been declared over, leaving 16 homes and two acute-care facilities with active infections.

Seventy-five people are in hospital, including 24 in intensive care, but no one else has died from the illness since the province’s last update.

Henry says contact tracing teams throughout the province are working around the clock, but their success depends on everyone taking a step back from social interactions.

There are nearly 4,640 people under public health monitoring as a result of exposure to a known case.

B.C. has confirmed 12,554 cases of COVID-19 so far.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

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Health officials announce 223 new coronavirus cases in BC | News – Daily Hive

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Health officials in British Columbia have announced 223 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of known cases in the province to 12,554.

In a written statement on Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that broken down by health region, this equates to 4,319 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 6,864 in the Fraser Health region, 250 in the Island Health region, 662 in the Interior Health region, 371 in the Northern Health region, and 88 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are 2,009 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 4,637 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

Currently, 75 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 24 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been two new healthcare facility outbreaks at Laurel Place and Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge. The outbreaks at PICS Assisted Living, Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre, Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence, and Thornebridge Gardens Retirement Residence have been declared over. In total, 16 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

There have been two new community outbreaks at Coast Spas Manufacturing and Pace Processing. There also continue to be exposure events around the province. Public alerts and notifications are posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website and on all health authorities’ websites.

There have been no new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 256 deaths in British Columbia.

A total of 10,247 people who tested positive have recovered.

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