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Severe acute hepatitis 'a very rare event,' says region's top doctor – GuelphToday

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It may not have popped up in the area as of yet, but local health officials are remaining cautious after cases of severe acute hepatitis have been confirmed in countries around the world.

“We actually do not know yet what the cause is. There’s lots of theories, lots of speculation,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, the medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, at Wednesday’s board meeting.

She said some theories relate to the adenovirus or COVID, but “none of those theories have yet to be proven and confirmed, as to the exact cause.”

There are seven possible cases under investigation at SickKids Hospital in Toronto that have not been confirmed.

Mercer said the takeaway is that it’s still considered a “very rare event,” pointing out there are no children under investigation in the local area.

“As of (Wednesday) morning, I am not aware that any health unit has been notified that they have a child with a confirmed diagnosis in Ontario,” Mercer added.

But despite the rarity, she cautioned that it’s a serious disease, which has caused at least one death and forced a number of children worldwide to have liver transplants.

The World Health Organization officials reported last week they had heard of almost 300 probable cases in 20 countries.

It’s also on the radar of federal health officials.

Canada’s chief public health officer said Friday that they’re working with the 17 pediatric centres in the country to get a better understanding of what is going on.

Tam said about half of severe pediatric hepatitis cases before the pandemic would have no known cause.

She said they’re still in the investigation stage to see if any of the probable cases are linked.

“There’s always been hepatitis and some severe cases of hepatitis in children pre-pandemic and one would expect post-pandemic as well,” Tam said.

Adenoviruses can be associated with cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat and pink eye.

But other problems can be triggered, such as inflammation in the stomach or intestines.

While it’s not known if adenovirus is the cause of these severe hepatitis cases, SickKids Hospital’s division head of infectious diseases said it would manifest as a very obvious illness, and is rare.

“If your kid is off, you should be plugged into your family physician, anyway, right? But I don’t want people to be lining up in (emergency) because the kid started vomiting once or something,” said Dr. Upton Allen.

Symptoms to watch out for include: jaundice (the skin, whites of your eyes and mucus membranes turn yellow), dark urine and pale stool, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and joint pain.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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Mental Health Issues Demand Resolution

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Should those who hold public office show that they are of sound mind and body before taking office and during the years they serve? Are those bureaucrats who truly run our government ever tested or investigated for various mental health issues that could surely affect their performance as public employees?

Imagine what the mental state of public servants is like these days? Besides the Pandemics’ influence upon us all, these men and women are responsible for public service to their communities and nation. Man public employees are under vigorous scrutiny for their honesty and performance as employees, but what about their mental health challenges? Various municipal, State and Federal authorities make attempts to pinpoint an employee in need, someone needing assistance and direction in their professional and personal lives, but it is difficult to do. Privacy and union issues often stand in between the person in need and those who would assist them. Furthermore, many employees refuse to seek assistance, for reasons of professional survival. Say an employee has an important job where many decisions are made influencing the community at large(ie Police). That person needs assistance for some mental health issues but fears either losing their jobs or being declared problematic employees, slowing promotions or professional advancement. They clam up, interiorizing their pain, fear or distress.

Most public institutions will honestly admit they do not invest enough into mental health services for their fellow employees.

Our elected officials have much to hide away from their future or present-day electors. What if they have a skeleton in their closet? A colourful personal history, a criminal record, possible mental health or physical health issue. Issues that are allowed to be hidden from the transparency portfolio. If asked, tell the truth(as they see it), otherwise hide what can be hidden. Politicians performing their service to the community, are placed under a microscope by the electorate and media alike. This must be stressful to them and their families too. Are elected officials ever evaluated for mental health status ever, before being elected and during their service?

Do you think anyone with a criminal record or under investigation should be removed or barred from holding office or in a position of public trust? Is the trust of the electorate easily given? A public official or employee could mishandle a portfolio, or commit a crime while in public service. How often have you seen such an individual stand before the media’s camera, proclaiming their innocence or sorrow of their actions?

We have heard many public officials call for hugely needed investments in the treatment of mental health issues, yet these investments are either moving at a snail’s pace or not at all. Our military and police have been calling for assistance regarding their need for mental health programs for two decades with little happening. The government’s response is usually words, words, and more words with little accountable assistance given. Our government has enough revenue to invest in weapons for the police and military, building structures and community centers, highways and new computers, but when asked to invest in people, their employees and the electorate, it’s either too costly or they have not the funds.

The Police and Military: Have an immediate need for trained mental health professionals, therapists and therapy-recoup centers. If the government can send them into harm’s way, they are responsible to maintain their mental health.

Government Agencies: Due to privacy issues, the government should make allotments to their employees available to find and go to therapy. A healthy employee is a trusted effective one. The government should source mental health professionals for those who serve them. Furthermore, Governments and their agencies are responsible to encourage, initiate and plan for the training of these professionals. A well-paid professional will make their placement a long-term investment. If our public employees can rely upon their employer to care for them, we can rely upon our public sector.

An established long-term mental health program needs to be established. This can be all-inclusive to the entire community. For example, gun owners, and drivers of vehicles should be required to invest their time in an interview and possible retraining every five years. Should a mental health issue be recognized, it can be dealt with appropriately and calmly. Bad habits, addictions, attitudes and illnesses developed over time can be recognized and something is done about them promptly and privately.

We have forgotten that much that we receive from and within our society is a privilege, something that should be earnt, and not awarded. Our mental health changes over time, and so too our responsibility to our communities, family and society. Is the public sector becoming our parents, our caregivers? In many ways, it is, and so our overall health, and that of our minds may be calling for community maintenance.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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BC bird flu: Vancouver Island farmers on alert | CTV News – CTV News VI

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The fears of many chicken farmers on Vancouver Island have been realized. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed that a case of the avian flu that’s been spreading across Canada has been found in a small flock in the Comox Valley on Wednesday.

Jeremy Vigini considers his birds pets, but they do provide limited income on his Black Creek, B.C., hobby farm, Broken Head Farms.

He’s only been at it for a few months but had heard the bird flu was headed towards the island.

“We first started hearing there was a problem last month,” he said, noting that he’d been keeping an eye on biosecurity and preventative measures.

Vigini and other poultry operations of all sizes are now under tighter restrictions after a positive case of the avian flu was confirmed on the Mid-Island.

“All we got was a post saying it’s in the Comox Valley now, and so our minds went to, ‘How do we secure our birds, our pets, all this stuff?'” he said.

Vigini’s now put up a new gate and increased fencing and netting to try to keep wild birds out.

WILDLIFE WORKERS

Staff and volunteers at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Centre (MARS) in Merville are increasing their protocols.

“[It’s] extremely contagious as far as we are aware, so at this point it can spread to any species of bird. Not necessarily all birds will show symptoms,” said Gylaine Andersen, manager of wildlife rehabilitation at MARS.

Staff are now taking a second look at the condition of their current patients.

“It’s kind of hard because a lot of these symptoms we’re seeing in animals anyway, and now we have to think, ‘OK maybe this is the flu instead of whatever else they would normally be,'” said Andersen.

The facility’s asking the general public to help out by encouraging birds to socially distance.

“For gathering of birds at bird feeders and bird baths, we are asking that people take those down,” said Andersen.

MARS is worried that if the avian flu is left unchecked, it could spread to wild birds, like eagles and geese.

As of Wednesday, seven properties across B.C. had confirmed cases of the avian flu. 

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Eating Disorder Foundation Call Recent CIHI Statistics “Alarming” – VOCM

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The Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador calls recent statistics released by CIHI “startling” and “alarming”.

The latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows that hospitalizations for eating disorders among girls aged 10 to 17 increased by nearly 60 per cent since March of 2020. The rate of hospitalization for children for eating disorders is about 30 per 100,000 in this province compared with 20 per 100,000 nationally—an increase of roughly 30 per cent over pre-pandemic levels.

The Executive Director of the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Paul Thomey, says what they’ve seen over the past two years lines up with CIHI’s findings.

He says they’ve seen unprecedented growth in the number of people presenting to the Janeway and the HOPE program. He says the waiting lists for their programs and the Janeway are startling,

He says in the youth programs, there are people waiting upwards of a year to see dieticians and psychologists.

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