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Second case of West Nile virus found in mosquito in Perth County – The Beacon Herald

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Huron Perth public health is reminding residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites following confirmation that mosquitoes collected from a trap in St. Marys tested positive for West Nile virus.

Huron Perth public health is reminding residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites following confirmation that mosquitoes collected from a trap in St. Marys tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the second positive mosquito finding of the season for Perth County after a confirmed case reported last week in Mitchell.

“It’s not surprising to see positive mosquito pools in the month of August,” public health inspector Kaitlyn Kelly said in a release. “The second positive mosquito report serves as a reminder that (West Nile virus) is present in our communities, and it is important to reduce your risk of exposure to mosquitoes and protect yourself against bites.”

MOSQUITO SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL ACTIVITIES

The health unit has been trapping and testing mosquitoes in locations across Huron and Perth since June 8. To reduce the risk of potential virus transmission, larvicide is being applied to roadside catch basins in Stratford, St. Marys, Listowel and Mitchell this summer to help reduce mosquito breeding.

WEST NILE VIRUS IN HUMANS

In Ontario, no probable or confirmed human cases of West Nile virus have been reported this year. Not everyone who is bitten by an infected mosquito will show symptoms of the virus. Of those who do show symptoms, most will experience a mild illness, including fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and rash on chest, stomach or back. About one in 150 people infected will get seriously ill, with symptoms such as high fever, muscle weakness, vision loss and coma. West Nile virus can lead to death.

Symptoms usually develop between two and 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People older than 50 are most at risk for West Nile virus infection, as are those with weakened immune systems.


PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MOSQUITO BITES

People can protect themselves from mosquito bites by:

  • Using an insect repellent when outdoors containing DEET or Icaridin. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions;
  • Covering up with light-colored clothes, long sleeves and pants when outdoors or in areas where mosquito activity is high;
  • Taking extra protection measures at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; and
  • Removing standing water around the home at least once a week to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.

For more information, call the health line at 1-888-221-2133 ext. 3267, visit hpph.ca, or follow Huron Perth public health on Facebook and Twitter.

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Doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE won't meet demand, survey suggests – CBC.ca

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A new survey suggests many doctors fear they won’t have enough of the flu vaccine to meet demand this season.

The Canadian Medical Association says more than 86 per cent of 1,459 survey respondents said they worry influenza season will put additional strain on the health care system.

Of those doctors who offer the flu vaccine, half said they won’t have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity.

The survey, conducted Aug. 19 to 24, also found 54 per cent of respondents still struggle to acquire personal protective equipment.

The survey found 68 per cent worry suppliers won’t have enough PPE, 62 per cent expect orders to be delayed and more than half fear global demand will hinder supply.

Extra flu vaccines ordered

Nevertheless, three quarters of those asked said they believe the health care system is better prepared for COVID-19 resurgences than it was during the first wave.

Canadian health officials have said that additional flu vaccines have been ordered this year to meet expected demand.

Earlier this month, a Public Health Agency of Canada spokesperson told The Canadian Press the agency ordered 13 million doses of the flu vaccine, up from 11.2 million last year.

CMA president Dr. Ann Collins said influenza immunization “is more important than ever this year.”

“We need to avoid a possible twin epidemic of flu and COVID-19 as it can be devastating to patients and our ability to sustain health care delivery,” Collins said Tuesday in a media release.

“We need to focus on greater funding and resourcing of public health to support mass vaccination efforts.”

She also said it’s “imperative” that governments ensure front line workers are protected by PPE as COVID-19 surges in many parts of Canada.

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Half a million sharks could be killed for Covid-19 vaccine, say experts – Euronews

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Shark squalene is being considered for use in coronavirus vaccines, warn conservationists. Squalene is a natural organic compound, found in shark liver oil.

Between 2,500 – 3,000 sharks are needed to extract one tonne of squalene. Conservation group Shark Allies predicts that if the world’s population all received one dose of the vaccine, around 250,000 sharks would have to be slaughtered, depending on the amount of squalene used. Two doses for every person in the globe would amount to half a million sharks.

Currently, British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKine (GSK) uses squalene in flu vaccines. The oil is used as an adjuvant in medicine, an ingredient that increases the effectiveness of a vaccine by creating a stronger immune response. GSK has announced that it would manufacture a billion doses of the adjuvant for potential use in coronavirus vaccines.

Shark Allies is concerned that killing so many sharks will do irreversible damage to our oceans’ ecosystems.

It says we should be using plant-based and synthetic alternatives for squalene, which don’t derive from sharks.

“We are in no way trying to hinder or slow down the development of a COVID-19 vaccine or any other critical treatment that is needed to protect humanity from illness,” states Stefanie Brendl, founder of California-based Shark Allies.

However, she adds, “we are asking that sustainably sourced squalene is used in all non-critical applications and where the alternative is just as effective as shark squalene, and that all future testing of adjuvanted vaccines is giving plant-derived sources equal consideration.”

Maintaining ocean health is critical

Sharks are critical to ocean health and function. They are a key element in life systems that affect ocean health, food security, and livelihoods for generations to come. We need the ocean and the ocean needs sharks. But populations have been severely depleted in recent decades.

Using squalene in universally deployed Covid vaccines could be detrimental for many shark species.

“It would be unconscionable if more harm was done by something that was avoidable,” says Brendl.

“Moving society away from harmful practices requires awareness and a willingness to tackle a transition period. Profit margins may not look as favorable if taking wild animals is seen as cheaper and easier than other processes. Sourcing an ingredient from a wild animal is not a long-term solution.”

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Canada at risk of another lockdown as coronavirus cases surge – Hindustan Times

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Canada’s two largest provinces have warned they may have to lock down parts of the economy again after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Quebec, which has had more virus deaths than 40 US states, is an epicenter of the problem. The province has about 5,000 active cases, a 71% jump from the beginning of August, and is on the verge of closing bars and restaurants again in its two biggest cities, Montreal and Quebec City. Hospitalizations went up 26% in six days.

Ontario, the largest province with 14.7 million people, reported 700 new cases Monday, the most ever in a day, though it’s also testing far more people than it was in spring. A group of hospitals called on Premier Doug Ford’s government to revert to stricter “stage two” measures in Toronto and Ottawa, which would mean restricting or closing indoor businesses such as gyms, movie theaters and restaurants.

“It’s up to each of us. Together our collective actions will decide if we face a wave or a tsunami,” Ford said Monday at a news conference during which he pleaded for residents to follow rules and get the flu vaccine — but did not move the province back to stage two.

It’s a reversal of fortune for a country that avoided the summertime spike that hit the US As the pandemic got worse in Sun Belt states, a largely compliant Canadian population hunkered down and wore masks.

Provincial governments, which set the rules for most companies, allowed the vast majority of businesses to open up again, sometimes with capacity limits and new sanitation rules. In Toronto, the financial capital, many restrictions were lifted on July 31.

As Labor Day neared, virus cases started to rise again. They flared in British Columbia, praised for its early handling of the crisis. Nationally, active cases have more than doubled since Sept. 1, to 12,759. Almost 95% are in the four largest provinces, with the greatest problems in big cities.

Six months of restrictions left some Canadians just as restless as their counterparts in the rest of the world. Across the country, the spike in new cases is being driven by social gatherings among people in their 20s and 30s, fed up with social distancing and hoping to take advantage of the last weeks of warm weather.

“What we’ll tell people is: Stay home. We’re going to ask for a considerable social sacrifice,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said in an interview on Radio Canada late Sunday. “There’s going to be difficult decisions for bars and restaurants” he added, as Quebec City and Montreal are about to be declared a “red zone,” the highest level in the province’s alert system.

The greater concern is that Covid-19’s toehold is becoming a foothold just as the country begins its rapid slide through autumn to winter, said Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto. This coronavirus survives and stays in the air longer in cold, dry weather, he said — people’s mucous membranes are less effective at filtering it out and infection rates are much higher indoors. Despite a run on fire pits and patio heaters, most policy makers are not expecting Canadians to dine outside in sub-zero temperatures.

Lower Mortality

One bright spot in the situation is the relatively low mortality rate in Canada. With the tragic exception of elder care facilities in Ontario and Quebec, where death rates soared early on, Canada’s fatality rate, per capita, is less than half that of the U.S. since the pandemic began — roughly 25 people per 100,000 population versus 63 in the U.S.

As treatments have improved, along with better protection for the elderly and, crucially, greater testing — and therefore identification — of cases in younger people, so have the mortality numbers.

But while a lower fatality rate is good news, it doesn’t protect hospitals from being overwhelmed by a surge in cases, especially during flu season. And there are significant health consequences with the virus, Furness said.

“If we focus just on the death rate, eventually everyone is going to say this is no big deal,” Furness said. “We should reframe our understanding of Covid as vascular disease that causes widespread brain damage in the population.”

For policy makers and politicians, protecting the hospitals, which already have enormous backlogs of delayed surgeries, and keeping the schools open are key. But the rising numbers threaten disruption on all fronts.

“If politicians do not have the political fortitude to reintroduce some restrictions, then our risk of sliding into something much worse — like the U.K. or Spain — that’s still on the table,” said Furness. Canada needs to implement rapid testing across the country, tighten definitions on “non-essential” travel and hold the line on 14-day quarantine periods for those who have been out of the country, he said.

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