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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health

Public Health Advisories

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health provides regular, time-sensitive public health updates to community health care providers. Listed below are the most recent public health updates:

Confirmed Case of Mumps in Hastings Prince Edward (May 2018)

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has received a report of one lab-confirmed case of mumps in a 22 year old, fully immunized female. It is presumed this person was exposed to the virus at a university in Nova Scotia.

Information about mumps signs and symptoms, immunization recommendations and reporting can be found in this memo.

Testing is advised in anyone with compatible signs and symptoms regardless of vaccination history. Visit Public Health Ontario’s Diagnostic Test Recommendations for Mumps for specific testing information.

Communicable Disease Fast Facts (May 2018)

Communicable Disease Fast Facts summarizes the 5 year averages and the 2017 case counts of diseases of public health significance (DOPHS) for Hastings & Prince Edward Counties (HPEC), as well as the total rates per 100,000 for 2013-2017 within HPEC and throughout Ontario.

Diseases of Public Health Significance (May 2018)

Effective May 1, 2018 “Reportable Diseases” are now referred to as “Diseases of Public Health Significance” under the consolidated O.Reg. 135/18 ‘Designation of Diseases’, which replaces O.Reg. 559/91: ‘Specification of Reportable Diseases’.

Other notable changes effective May 1, 2018 include the addition of Blastomycosis, Carbapenamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) colonization or infection, and Echinoccoccus multiocularis infection, and the deletion of Malaria and Yellow Fever. “Haemophilus influenza b disease, invasive” has been changed to “Haemophilus influenza disease all types, invasive”, and outbreaks in public hospitals are now included in respiratory infection and gastroenteritis outbreaks in institutions.

Diseases of Public Health Significance (DOPHS) must be reported by physicians, laboratories, administrators of hospitals, schools, and institutions to the local Medical Officer of Health (as stated in the Health Protection and Promotion Act). DOPHS can be reported to Hastings Prince Edward Public Health by filling out the Diseases of Public Health Significance and Reporting Form and faxing it to 613-966-1813. Patient consent is not required for reporting this information. The Personal Health Information Protection Act explicitly allows health care providers to disclose information to the local Medical Officer of Health for purposes outlined under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Public Health Notice – Outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce (December 2017)

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157, commonly called E. coli. Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to romaine lettuce has been identified as the source of the outbreak, but the cause of contamination has not been identified. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as illnesses linked to romaine lettuce continue to be reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. These illnesses indicate that contaminated romaine lettuce may still be on the market (including in restaurants, grocery stores and any establishments that serve food). At this time, the investigation evidence suggests that there continues to be a risk of E. coli infections associated with the consumption of romaine lettuce.

Because of the ongoing risk in eastern Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising individuals in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce, until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination.

For more information about this outbreak, visit the Government of Canada website.

First Influenza Cases (November 2017)

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has received notice of its first two laboratory confirmed Influenza A cases for the 2017-2018 season. Both cases were tested as a part of an ongoing Long Term Care Home respiratory outbreak. Information on influenza prevention strategies can be found in this memo.

Pertussis (November 2017)

On Wednesday November 21, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) received notification of one laboratory confirmed case, and one epidemiologically-linked case of Bordatella pertussis in the Centre Hastings school area. As a result, you may see children and adults presenting with pertussis-like symptoms. If so, we encouraged you to test, to treat and to immunize for pertussis. For more information, please see Dr. Gemmill’s memo.  The HPEPH Pertussis Fact Sheet is also available to the public.

Mumps (March 2017)

Mumps virus continues to circulate in Ontario in individuals 14-38 years of age.  As of March 8th, 42 cases of mumps (40 confirmed, 2 probable) have been reported in Ontario. Cases have been reported in 13 different public health units.  No cases have been reported in HPEPH at this point, however, cases have been reported in neighbouring health units.  Click here for Dr. Kieran Moore’s memo and here to see diagnostic testing recommendations.

Seoul Virus (March 2017)

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, in collaboration with public and animal health partners at a variety of government levels, are investigating three human cases of Seoul virus infection in Ontario. All three individuals had prolonged contact with rats. No serious health outcomes have been reported for the cases.  Click here to see the CMOH memo.

Influenza (November 2016)

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health reports their first two lab confirmed influenza cases.  Click here to see the memo.

PHO has recently released two influenza fact sheets for health care providers:

These fact sheets will help to support health care providers to support decision-making and answer patient questions about influenza vaccination and treatment.

Pertussis Advisory – North Hastings (May 2016)

5 confirmed cases of pertissus have been identified in Bancroft.  Click here to see the advisory to Health care providers.

FOOD RECALL WARNING (April 22nd)

New post-exposure prophylaxis guidelines associated with this food recall have been issued to reflect the newly released recommendations from National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

Please click here for a revised Hep A Post-Exposure Prophylaxis for Management of of Hepatitis A Outbreak Associated with Recalled Costco Frozen Berries.

FOOD RECALL WARNING (April 2016)

An investigation has led to a recall of Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend of frozen berries sold at Costco, due to concerns of Hepatitis A.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health will be offering publicly funded Hepatitis A vaccination to those who consumed the recalled product within the last 14 days. Costco is currently contacting customers who purchased the recalled product.

To book an appointment to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine, please call Hastings Prince Edward Public Health at (613) 966-5500 ext. 313.

To view the Statement from Chief Medical Officer of Health on Hepatitis A, click here.

FAST FACTS:  2015 Reportable Diseases in Hastings & Prince Edward Counties (March 2016)

To see 2015 case counts of reportable diseases in Hastings & Prince Edward Counties, along with a 5-year average, click here.

Zika Virus Update – March 2016

Public Health Ontario has updated their testing protocols. PCR testing for Zika virus and serological testing for viral antibodies are available via the Public Health Ontario Laboratory (PHOL) and the National Microbiology Laboratory. Patients with symptom onset while in endemic areas or within 2 weeks of departure from an endemic area may be considered for testing. Asymptomatic pregnant women with potential Zika virus exposure during their pregnancy may be tested using serology. Testing is not indicated in non-pregnant patients after recovery from a self-limiting illness. PHOL specimen requirements can be found here.

Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that all pregnant women and those who are considering attempting to get pregnant discuss their travel plans with their health care provider and consider postponing travel to areas in the Americas affected by the ZIKA outbreak.

To access Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) fact sheet, click here.

The risk to Ontarians remains low as mosquitoes known to transmit the virus are not established in Canada.

Syrian Refugees Update – March 2016

CFB Trenton is no longer a designated Interim Lodging site for Syrian Refugees. We will continue to see privately sponsored refugees arriving over the next year. It is recommended that all children and adults lacking written documentation of immunization should be started on a primary immunization schedule as appropriate for their age. Refer to the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule for Ontario – “Catch-up Schedule”. Additional copies of the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule are available when picking up vaccine and can be found here.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has developed the temporary, multi-lingual, Refugee HealthLine (1-866-286-4770 (toll-free) to connect refugees to health care providers for transitional health care and services. Providers who have come forward to provide care to refugees should be encouraged to contact the Refugee HealthLine as soon as possible to register their availability.

The MOHTLC has also developed a support tool for primary care providers to be used in their early assessments and care of Syrian refugees (vaccination information and routine testing information can be found within this document).

Food Recall Warning – Dole Fresh Vegetables (January 2016)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a warning that Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. is recalling various pre-packaged chopped salads, salad blends and kits, and leafy green products from the marketplace due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

This recall applies to all products manufactured from the Dole facility located in Springfield, OH. Affected product can be identified with a product code beginning with the letter “A” in the upper right-hand corner of the package.  A complete listing of products is available here.  We are asking all facilities with food services to check for recalled products.  Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause illness. Listeria typically incubates from 2 to 3 weeks, however cases have occurred up to 70 days after a single exposure to a contaminated product.  Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, the infection can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

Testing Specimen Collection for Foodborne Illness

Individuals who have eaten suspect food only require laboratory testing if they have symptoms of meningitis and invasive disease.  Specimens for Listeria monocytogenes should not be collected on asymptomatic patients.                                                                                                                                                                                

If the patient has invasive disease symptoms such as fever or meningitis:  

Specimens to be submitted to a local diagnostic laboratory:

  • Blood cultures
    • Two sets of blood cultures should be taken from different sites. A third set of blood cultures should be drawn if and only if endocarditis is suspected. Collect another set of blood cultures after 48hrs if the previous cultures are negative and there is ongoing concern of invasive infection with Listeria monocytogenes.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • Sterile site fluids and tissues such as joint fluid, cord blood and placental tissue

Specimens to be sent to the Public Health Laboratories (PHL):

  • All Listeria monocytogenes isolates from diagnostic laboratories
  • Stool specimens for culture of Listeria monocytogenes
    • Acceptance of stools specimens for culture for Listeria monocytogenes testing requires the presence of all three of the following criteria:  

1) symptomatic;

2) high risk – including immunocompromised, pregnant, neonate;

3) with ingestion of implicated food.

Stool cultures will not be accepted without the prior approval of a PHL Medical Microbiologist (please contact 416?526?5441). If approved, these samples will be forwarded to the Listeriosis Reference Service, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada in Ottawa.

  • Food samples
    • Must be forwarded through public health units. Acceptable foods are those that have been ingested and are suspected of containing Listeria monocytogenes.  

For further testing information:

• Contact the PHL Customer Service Centre at 416?235?6556 or toll free at 1?877? 604?4567, or via email at customerservicecentre@oahpp.ca  

• For the PHL Specimen Collection Guide and previous Labstracts, click here.

 For further information on Listeria contact Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Communicable Disease Program at 613-966-5500 x349.

Travel Health Notice – Zika Virus (January 2016)

In 2015, Zika virus was reported for the first time in a number of countries in Central and South America, as well as in Mexico. Past outbreaks of Zika virus infection have been reported in Africa, Asia and the Oceanic Pacific region.  There have been travel-related cases of Zika virus reported in Canada in returned travellers from countries where the virus is known to circulate.  There have been no reported cases of locally acquired Zika virus in Canada.

For the latest updates on countries affected by Zika virus, please visit the  World Health Organization’s website. For the latest map of confirmed cases in the Americas visit the Pan American Health Organization’s website.

Zika virus infection is caused by a virus which is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days.

In Brazil, there has recently been a significant increase in number of babies born with birth defects (congenital malformations), such as infants born with an abnormally small head and microcephaly (an underdeveloped brain). The Ministry of Health of Brazil recently identified a possible relationship between Zika virus infection and the increase in the number of microcephaly cases. An investigation to better understand the relationship between Zika virus infection and increased risk for microcephaly is ongoing.

It is recommended that pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant discuss their travel plans with their health care provider to assess their risk and consider postponing travel to areas where the Zika virus is circulating in the Americas.  If travel cannot be postponed then strict mosquito bite prevention measures should be followed to protect themselves against bites.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that all travellers protect themselves from mosquito bites when travelling to areas where Zika virus is circulating. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against Zika virus infection.

Please visit Public Health Ontario’s website for more information.

News, Research and Reports RELATED TO: Healthcare Providers

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Scheduled Maintenance

From November 25 to 27 the HPEPH website will be undergoing regular maintenance. Web pages may be unavailable during this time. Phone lines may also be impacted. We apologize for any inconvenience. The website and phone lines will be running normally on November 28.

COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

All individuals ≥ 5 yrs of age are eligible to receive a fall COVID-19 bivalent booster dose 6 mo after previous COVID-19 vaccine regardless of the number of booster doses previously received.

Appointments can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

For the most up to date information on current provincial guidelines and advice in case of exposure, visit Ontario.ca/page/public-health-measures-and-advice.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.