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Posts Tagged "outbreak"

15May

More than 100 people fall sick in suspected norovirus outbreak in Richmond hotels

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Over 100 people have fallen sick following a suspected norovirus outbreak at two Richmond hotels over the weekend.

Claudia Kurzac, Vancouver Coastal Health’s manager for environmental health, says the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel and the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel were affected although a confirmation of norovirus won’t come until test results are back next week.

Steve Veinot, general manager of the Sheraton at the airport, says it is sanitizing all hard surfaces, kitchens, public spaces and guest rooms.

He says the hotel will not open until they are confident it is safe and the health authority gives them the go ahead.

Veinot says the source of the virus hasn’t been identified.

The Hilton hotel could not be reached for comment.

Vancouver Coastal Health says noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause severe gastroenteritis, commonly referred to as the stomach flu.


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22Apr

BC Interior warning on ‘trippy’ drug linked to ‘zombie’ outbreak in US

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KAMLOOPS — The B.C. Interior Health authority is warning street-drug users of a synthetic cannabinoid that has been linked to a so-called “zombie” outbreak in New York.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Trevor Corneil says tests at a Kamloops overdose-prevention site found the powerful drug mixed with heroin, fentanyl and caffeine.

The authority warns that users can look like they have overdosed on opioids, but they won’t respond to naloxone and they can experience “speedy” or “trippy” symptoms with possible hallucinations.

A 2017 article in the New England Journal of Medicine says the drug caused a mass intoxication of 33 people in New York City in July 2016 and was described in the media as a “zombie” outbreak because of the appearance of those who took the drug.

The journal article says the drug was developed by Pfizer in 2009 and it is a strong depressant, which accounts for the “zombie-like” behaviour reported in New York.

Corneil says they don’t like to use the zombie term because it can give people the wrong impression and what is important is they exercise caution when new substances come on the black market.


Dr. Trevor Corneil of B.C. Interior Health.

Corneil says they aren’t aware of any deaths where the cannabinoid is the only substance.

“Often overdose deaths are caused by a mix of different substance together and we’re not seeing any increase in overdose deaths related to this substance, relative to the impact of fentanyl, which is the major toxin we have in our drug supply right now.”

Corneil says the discovery of the drug is a good example of the level of sophistication that both harm-reduction workers and users have been able to access in the province.

“This is the problem with criminalization, in that it takes away any of the safeguards that the system puts in place to ensure that people get the product they think they’re buying and it hasn’t been mixed with something else.”

He says workers are seeing that users are becoming more aware that they need to have their illicit drugs tested and when they learn what’s in their drugs, they make better decisions.

The testing machines at safe consumption sites look at a large database of drugs, which Corneil says is used for both research and by police.

“Many of them are unusual and rare and we’re finding that manufacturers and suppliers are trying different new substances all the time … trying to make a buck off people who are quite marginalized by the criminalized setting around them.”

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7Mar

Measles: Latest case located in Fraser Valley, linked to outbreak

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25Feb

Vancouver measles outbreak: Unlikely to spread but everyone should be vaccinated

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24Feb

Two new measles cases in Vancouver as outbreak spreads to Edmonton

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Vancouver health authorities confirmed two new cases of measles in the city, separate from the ongoing outbreak linked to two francophone schools.

The two individuals contracted measles while travelling and are unrelated to the outbreak that began at École Jules‐Verne and École Rose-Des-Vents.

The update came the same day Alberta Health Services issued a measles exposure warning in that province, after a passenger with measles travelled from Vancouver to Edmonton on an Air Canada flight earlier this month.

According to AHS, an individual with a confirmed case of measles was found to have visited Leduc, Alta. while infectious. The person boarded Air Canada flight AC236 departing from Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 10:25 a.m. and landed at Edmonton International Airport around 12:54 p.m.

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The infected traveller then took an airport shuttle, which dropped off travellers to Paradise Inn and Suites, Crystal Star Inn, Wyndham Garden Edmonton Airport, and Wingate by Wyndham between 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Other exposure times include Feb. 12 at Walmart Supercentre (5 to 7 p.m.); Feb. 13 on board an airport shuttle pickup from Crystal Star Inn (6:30 to 7a.m.), a Canadian North Flight #5T-444 to Inuvik departing from Edmonton airport around 7:45 a.m.; Feb. 12 and 13 at Stars Inn Hotel (3 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.)

“Given the timeframe of the potential exposure, post-exposure immunization is not effective,” read a AHS health advisory.

“Individuals are encouraged to monitor for symptoms for 21 days after the date of potential exposure, which could be up to March 5, 2019.”

VCH is expected to provide an update Sunday afternoon about the new cases of measles.

A measles outbreak is underway in Vancouver, after an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a trip to Vietnam last month. The child visited B.C. Children’s Hospital and returned to school in late January and early February, prompting Vancouver Coastal Health to issue a warning.

Up to 36 people linked to the child’s school have been ordered to stay at home because they are either unvaccinated and are waiting out the incubation period, or have been able to provide proof of immunization.

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22Feb

B.C. pharmacists push immunization after Vancouver measles outbreak

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Community pharmacists in B.C. have joined a chorus of health officials urging residents to get vaccinated after a recent outbreak of measles in Vancouver.

The B.C. Pharmacy Association is reminding the public that pharmacists across the province are prepared to give booster shots or new vaccinations to adults and children five years or older. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is publicly-funded and available from pharmacists in nearly every community, the association said in a news release Friday.

“Community pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care providers and have had the authority to provide injections since 2009,” said the association’s CEO, Geraldine Vance.

“Families and individuals looking to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date can go to their local pharmacist for care.”

Vancouver Coastal Health also recommends vaccinations. People who have previously had the infection do not need immunization.

B.C. children born in or after 1994 routinely get two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, one dose when they turn a year old and another before they start kindergarten.

People born before 1994 or who grew up outside of B.C. may need a second dose. People born before 1970 are likely immune; but if they aren’t sure whether they have had the infection, they can safely get the MMR vaccine.

Vaccinations and boosters are also available at doctors’ offices, and Immunization B.C. provides a map of local health units offering publicly-funded vaccinations at immunizebc.ca/finder. Services vary by location.


READ MORE: 

Measles in B.C.: How we got here and what you need to know

Burnaby family on edge after high-risk baby exposed to measles at children’s hospital


Earlier this week, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said measles is a “serious and highly contagious disease” and that getting inoculated is the best way to avoid getting sick — and transmitting it to others who may be unprotected.

Tam’s comments Tuesday came after a cluster of nine cases of measles in Vancouver that began in recent weeks after an unvaccinated Canadian child contracted the disease on a family trip to Vietnam.

The rate of immunization among students at the two Vancouver schools where the outbreak originated has since increased, according to an update earlier this week from Vancouver Coastal Health.

At École Secondaire Jules‐Verne and École Rose-Des-Vents, both francophone schools, the measles immunization rate is now 95.5 and 94 per cent respectively, said Althea Hayden, a medical health officer, at a news conference Tuesday.

“Before this outbreak started, we had documentation for only about 70 per cent of students having immunity,” said Hayden, adding that the rise in immunity is not just due to new vaccinations but also the result of those who have now reported their vaccination records, when their immunization status was previously undeclared.

Herd immunity requires a threshold of about 92 per cent.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control tracks child immunization and reports that 82.1 per cent of children aged seven had been immunized for measles in 2018, compared to 88.4 per cent in 2017 and 90.2 per cent in 2016.

With files from Tiffany Crawford, Stephanie Ip and The Canadian Press

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9Feb

Measles case confirmed in Vancouver, not linked to Washington outbreak

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Reported cases of measles have spiked 30 per cent worldwide since 2016.


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Health authorities have confirmed a case of measles in Vancouver.

The patient, a Vancouver resident, was diagnosed on Thursday as having the virus, but the period during which it is considered infectious has since passed, said Shaf Hussain, a spokesman for Vancouver Coastal Health. The patient is receiving care.

The health authority last released a measles alert in September, when a person who was infected attended the Skookum Festival.

The latest case is not believed to be linked to an outbreak of measles in the state of Washington, Hussain said. A surge in measles cases prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency Jan. 25. As of Saturday, 54 cases had been confirmed. Health officials are urging residents to get immunized. Four more cases have been confirmed in Oregon.

Measles is highly infectious and spreads through air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the Vancouver Coastal Health. Complications can include inflammation of the brain, convulsions, deafness, brain damage and death.

Infection does not require close contact and measles can survive in close areas, such as a bathroom, for up to two hours after an infected person has left. It causes fever, red eyes, cough, runny nose and a rash. Most people recover within a week or two.

Vancouver Coastal Health recommends vaccinations. People who have previously had the infection do not need immunization.

B.C. children born in or after 1994 routinely get two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, one dose when they turn a year old and another before they start kindergarten.

People born before 1994 or who grew up outside of B.C. may need a second dose. People born before 1970 are likely immune; but if they aren’t sure whether they have had the infection, they can safely get the MMR vaccine.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control tracks child immunization and reports that 82.1 per cent of children aged seven had been immunized for measles in 2018, compared to 88.4 per cent in 2017 and 90.2 per cent in 2016.

Across Canada, only a single new case of laboratory-confirmed measles was reported between Dec. 30, 2018, and Jan. 26, 2019, according to Health Canada’s most recent measles and rubella monitoring reports.

The agency said there have been large measles outbreaks reported across Europe which have affected many countries.

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20Oct

Salmonella outbreak: 37 cases in B.C. may be linked to cucumbers

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The Public Health Agency of Canada says an investigation is underway into an outbreak of salmonella infections involving five provinces, with 37 confirmed cases in British Columbia.


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The Public Health Agency of Canada says an investigation is underway into an outbreak of salmonella infections involving five provinces, mostly in Western Canada.

The agency says on its website that the source of the outbreak has not been identified yet, although many of the people who became sick reported eating cucumbers.

It says that as of Friday, there have been 37 confirmed cases in B.C., five in Alberta, and one case each in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

The person from Quebec reported travelling to British Columbia before becoming ill, the agency says.

The cases occurred between mid-June and late-September, and nine people have been hospitalized.

The agency says it’s collaborating with provincial public health agencies, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada as part of the investigation.

“The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses continue to be reported,” the statement on the Public Health Agency of Canada website says.

No deaths have been reported.

The agency says there is no evidence at this time to suggest that residents in central and Eastern Canada are affected by this outbreak.

Salmonella infection usually results from eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs or egg products.

Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

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