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I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Comment on the stomach bug

How's this for a comment about the stomach bug that's going around? "It just makes you feel like you're going to die," said Dr. Tim Booth, director of the viral diseases division at the Public Health Agency of Canada's national microbiology lab in Winnipeg.

Oh, is that all? Hey, no problem then, right? Excuse me while I go out and buy a couple of cases of hand sanitizer...
Public health officials, hospitals, Habs battling gastroenteritis outbreak

MONTREAL (CP) - Public health officials and hospitals across the country are battling an outbreak of viral gastroenteritis that has postponed surgeries and even struck the Montreal Canadiens line-up.

It's unpleasant and it's highly contagious, but it's not serious, say health officials, who are advising the public not to panic about the common virus making its regular winter appearance. "It just makes you feel like you're going to die," said Dr. Tim Booth, director of the viral diseases division at the Public Health Agency of Canada's national microbiology lab in Winnipeg.

Cases have been reported from Halifax to Saskatchewan.

"It's pretty much everywhere," Booth said.

In Quebec, about 200 health care institutions and several Habs players and staff have been affected by the outbreak while several hospitals in New Brunswick closed their doors last month to try to control the spread of the virus.

"It's not a good time, to have this disease, but most people will not have any complications," said Dr. Horatio Arruda, director of public health for the Quebec Department of Health.

Health officials believe a more potent strain of the Norwalk virus, or Norovirus, is to blame and similar outbreaks have been reported in Europe, the United States and Japan.

The highly contagious virus, which normally peaks between December and March, causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach and muscle cramps that can last several days.

The Jewish General Hospital in Montreal postponed elective surgeries Tuesday and moved infected patients to a quarantined unit.

Other Quebec institutions have shut their doors to visitors to try to stop the spread of the virus.

Still, "it's not too much to worry about," Booth said.

Gastroenteritis is rarely fatal and many public health officials are relieved that the outbreak is not Clostridium difficile, a bacterium which has plagued the Quebec health care system in recent years and killed as many as 2,000 hospital patients since 2003.

So far, among the worst symptoms of the outbreak is a three-game losing streak by the Habs.

The virus hit the Montreal Canadiens just prior to a loss last Thursday night in Washington.

The team cancelled practice Friday and as many as nine players, including Saku Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse, became ill in the following days.

Coach Guy Carbonneau and some training staff were also sickened.

The team took Monday off to recuperate and the full line-up was expected to suit up for a Tuesday night game.

"Everyone's back to normal or close to it," forward Michael Ryder said Tuesday. "That's a good thing. Especially the way the bug went through players pretty quick. It was pretty devastating."

Arruda called on the public to help bring an end to the larger outbreak.

"This is a disease that we can prevent with good hygiene measures," he said.

People should wash their hands frequently and be particularly careful about food preparation, he said.

And if you feel sick: "Stay home."

©The Canadian Press, 2007

1 Comments:

  • At Tue Jan 09, 11:00:00 PM EST, Anonymous jgriffin said…

    The real joy comes for staying awake for two nights straight to clean up after people with "the bug".

     

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