Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2019 02:59:34 +0200

Montreal, April 19, 2019 (AFP) - Three world-renowned professional mountaineers -- two Austrians and an American -- were missing and presumed dead after an avalanche on a western Canadian summit, the country's national parks agency said Thursday.   American Jess Roskelley, 36, and Austrians Hansjorg Auer, 35, and David Lama, 28, went missing Tuesday evening in Banff National Park, according to media reports. Authorities launched an aerial search the next day.

The three men were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Pass, an isolated and highly difficult route, according to Parks Canada.   They were part of a team of experienced athletes sponsored by American outdoor equipment firm The North Face, the company confirmed to AFP.   Rescuers found signs of several avalanches and debris consistent with climbing equipment, Parks Canada said, leading them to presume that the climbers were dead.

Poor weather conditions have increased avalanche risks in the mountainous area on the border between Alberta and British Columbia, with the search halted for safety reasons.   It is unlikely the three men survived, John Roskelley, father of missing Jess Roskelley, told local media in the US state of Washington.   "This route they were trying to do was first done in 2000. It's just one of those routes where you have to have the right conditions or it turns into a nightmare. This is one of those trips where it turned into a nightmare," he told the Spokesman-Review.   Himself considered one of the best American mountaineers of his generation, John Roskelley climbed Mount Everest with his son in 2003, making then 20-year-old Jess Rosskelley the youngest person to have conquered the summit.
Date: Sun 17 Mar 2019, 6:08 AM
Source: Quinte News [edited]

The Health Unit was notified this week that one case of whooping cough had been confirmed with laboratory testing, and that 3 other family members in the same household are ill with symptoms. Those ill were either not vaccinated or partially vaccinated against the virus.

The current cases of whooping cough are recovering at home, Rock says, and the Health Unit has been following up with anyone who may have been in contact with the family. At this time, there does not appear to be any additional cases, but she encourages anyone who develops symptoms to contact their health care provider or emergency room to arrange for testing.

The Health Unit is also holding immunization clinics for students or people who do not have a health care provider. To learn more, or to book an appointment, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507.  [Byline: Tim Durkin]
[Ontario is one of the 13 and most populous of Canada's provinces and territories; it is located in east-central Canada and is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital (<>). - ProMED Mod.ML]
Date: Tue 12 Mar 2019
Source: Vancouver Sun [edited]

British Columbia [B.C.] Health Minister Adrian Dix announced last month [February 2019] B.C. is considering a vaccination registration system in the province's schools after a measles outbreak. As of last week there have been at least 17 confirmed measles cases this year [2019]. In addition to the measles, there have been 2 reported cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, on Vancouver Island this week.

The spread of communicable diseases increases when less than 90 to 95% of the population is immunized. "That (a lower rate of immunization) is considered to be a contributing factor" to the increase of pertussis, said Dr. Manish Sadarangani, director of the vaccine evaluation centre at the B.C. Children's Hospital.

Children should be immunized against pertussis at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months, in preschool, and in Grade 9, he said. And pregnant women are immunized to protect their newborns up to the age of 2 months, he said. Pertussis after age 15 or so causes a bad cough that's annoying but not dangerous. But a baby with whooping cough could cough till they're blue or vomiting and that could lead to a lack of oxygen. In a worst case, that can be fatal, he said.

"There is a push to have requirements for people to have all their (vaccination) documents before they go to school," said Sadarangani. A Health Ministry spokeswoman said pertussis is among the diseases that it recommends immunizing against.

Pertussis in B.C., like elsewhere, "remains an endemic disease" that goes through cyclical peaks every 3 to 5 years, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website. It says there has been a "gradual increase in overall pertussis activity" since 2012 and that "may reflect changes in population-level immunity."

In B.C., there were fewer than 13 confirmed cases per 100,000 population in 2017, which was slightly lower than the fewer than 20 cases in 2015 and 2016. But it's higher than rates of fewer than 5 to 10 per 100 000 in 2008 through 2014, according to the Centre. The highest rates were in Vancouver Island and Interior health authorities, particularly in Kootenay Boundary, South Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions, it said.

In 2017, the highest rates of pertussis were among babies one year and under, children 10 to 14 years old, and children 5 to 9. The lowest rates were recorded for children one to 4 years old, children 15 to 19, and adults 20 and older, it said.

An Angus Reid Institute poll released last month [February 2019] showed 70% of respondents believed vaccines against deadly diseases should be mandatory for schoolchildren. And a B.C. petition signed so far by more than 45 000 people is calling for mandatory vaccination for babies and kids. In its report, Angus Reid notes that reasons for not vaccinating children include philosophical, religious or personal reasons. It notes some parents believe chiropractic practices and naturopathy are alternatives to vaccination, which Health Canada says is not true.

Sadarangani said it's rare for people to receive a medical exemption for vaccinations, perhaps for a child sick with cancer, and it's important to immunize those who can be vaccinated to help protect those who can't be, the so-called herd immunity. He said if he would meet families who choose not to immunize, "I would try to talk to them to find out the reason."  [Byline: Susan Lazaruk]
[A recent news report (22 Mar 2019) confirmed a 5th case of pertussis in south Vancouver Island (<>). Vancouver Island, the largest island on the West Coast of North America, with a population in 2016 of 775 347 residents, is part of the Canadian province of British Columbia (<>). Nearly half the population lives in the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. - ProMED Mod.ML]
Date: Fri 29 Mar 2019
Source: Montreal Gazette [edited]

Quebec's health ministry is reporting what it believes to be the 1st local outbreak of toxoplasmosis -- a parasitic disease that can severely affect pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems -- linked to the consumption of undercooked venison eaten outside the province.

A bulletin published by the ministry notes that 5 people in a party of 10 hunters from Quebec fell ill after a 12-day hunting trip last November and December [2018] in the US. During the trip, they ate meat on site from the deer they had killed. It was determined later that one of the deer had unidentified lesions on its liver.

Subsequent examinations of the affected hunters confirmed a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis, and health officials are recommending that hunters avoid eating venison killed in Illinois, where many local species seem to have been infected with the disease.

Authorities also suggest that all game meat be cooked to an internal temperature of 74 deg C (165 deg F) and not be served to pregnant women or those with weak immune systems. It is also recommended that those handling the meat wash their hands and that any cutting of the meat be done on cutting boards used only for that purpose.
[_Toxoplasma gondii_ has an unusual wide host range and can infect all mammals and birds. A study of white-tailed deer in the US found that 41% were _T. gondii_ seropositive (Gerhold RW, et al. _Toxoplasma gondii_ seroprevalence and genotype diversity in select wildlife species from the south-eastern United States. Parasit Vectors 2017;10:508).

Therefore, it is not a surprise that the hunters may have caught an acute infection with _T. gondii_ if they ate meat from deer without proper cooking. - ProMED Mod.EP]

[HealthMap/ProMED-mail maps:
Canada: <>
United States: <>
Illinois, United States: <>]

Date: Thu 21 Mar 2019
Source: Castanet [edited]

A botulism scare has forced the recall of a local [British Columbia] coffee company's product. Cherry Hill Coffee's N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee has been recalled after it was learned that temperature issues during the manufacturing process could have led to a failure to control pathogens, including botulism.

On Wed 20 Mar 2019, Interior Health put out a warning to the public advising anyone who purchased the cold brew coffee from the Kelowna company to not drink it.

"Either throw out the product, or return it to the location you bought it from, with proof of purchase for a full refund," IH said in its statement. "N7 Nitro cans and kegs have been pulled from shelves at retail stores as part of a voluntary recall."

IH says anyone who is feeling unwell after drinking the product should seek medical advice. At this time, no illnesses linked to the product have been reported.

According to Health Canada, symptoms of botulism include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and eventually paralysis that starts in the shoulders and arms. Symptoms of botulism generally begin 12 to 36 hours after ingestion; however, symptoms can begin as soon as 6 hours after exposure or as long as 10 days later.  [Byline: Nicholas Johansen]
[Nitro coffee is cold brewed and infused with nitrogen gas. A bonus for consumers is that there's no sugar, milk, or alcohol in nitro coffee, and it contains about 30 percent more caffeine per ounce. It is not stated how much and where the distribution was. A similar recall occurred in 2017 in the USA.

Because of the potential severity of botulism, ProMED-mail posts such recalls even if, as in this case, there are no human cases associated (yet) with the food products. Most food recalls are related to defective preparation procedures that could, but do not necessarily, result in the germination of viable spores of _Clostridium botulinum_. - ProMED Mod.LL]

[HealthMap/ProMED map available at:
Canada: <>]
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