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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Toronto Mystery Illness Update

They still don't know what the Toronto illness is, but it has killed 10 people. Most of them were quite elderly. The Globe and Mail:
Public health officials in Toronto say the toll in the outbreak of a mysterious respiratory illness at a seniors' residence has climbed to 10 with the deaths of four more people.
Dr. David McKeown says the outbreak has affected 70 residents of the home, along with 12 employees and two visitors.

A total of 40 residents have been admitted to hospital.
That's 84 people infected (with the employee count rising rapidly) and 10 dead in the week since the first symptoms were seen. At least one of the employees was in the hospital, according to Promed, so it is dangerous to more than just elderly people. About half the people who have it have been hospitalized. Now they are saying they may never know what caused this? Hardly reassuring.

Yesterday the count was:
The outbreak has so far affected a total of 68 residents, eight employees and three visitors at Seven Oaks.

· There have been no new cases since yesterday, but there have been two additional deaths, for a total of six in the outbreak.

· The majority of cases are improving but some have worsened as the illness takes it course.

· 30 residents from Seven Oaks have been admitted to hospital.
Maybe they ruled out one of the visitors? Yesterday they said three and today they said two. So in one day there were four more deaths, 4 more employees sick, 2 more residents sick, and 10 more people hospitalized.

Confluence- CNN has been talking about bird flu all day- and the accompanying dire predictions, from the U of MN infectious disease folks. The guy was talking in terms of millions of victims.

Well, viruses are extremely difficult to isolate sometimes.

This incident in Toronto shows just how difficult it could be to detect an H5N1 outbreak early. I am sure it is not H5N1. But it is not innocuous either, and the Canadian authorities are trying - and getting little results.

This goes to show that we can't rely on superficial assumptions about how to deal with H5N1 if it becomes efficient at transmitting from human to human.
Oh - early this morning I read an article reporting on an info release that said that this was "under control" and that the cases were decreasing. Then I read the new case count this afternoon.

I would assume that the new cases are now occurring from secondary infections among the staff, so it is anything but under control. Will their children/families now get ill? Possibly. They are tracing contacts now.

A little dose of reality won't hurt public planning in this country.
Spooky stuff - the latest here:


I was just listening on the radio about this when I came across yu rpost.
They are isolating the patients at the hospital, and they are using full precautions even when the EMT's come to pick them up. A few days ago they stopped visitors from entering the facility.

They are doing the best they can, but I doubt it's under control.

New viruses pop up all the time.
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