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Isolation of 14 Respiratory Patients in Toronto Cause Concern

Recombinomics Commentary

October 1, 2005

2 people were admitted to Scarborough General Hospital with an unknown respiratory illness. They have been placed in respiratory isolation, but contrary to reports this morning, the hospital was never placed under quarantine.

Earlier reports that Rouge Valley Centenary in Scarborough was also quarantined have also been struck down.
Director of Communications at Rouge Valley Health Anne-Marie Males says 12 residents of the 7 Oaks nursing home have been admitted to their hospital with flu-like symptoms. They have all been put in isolated rooms, but she says this is a all normal precaution taken when an illness hasn't been identified.

The 14 admission cited above has raised some concerns, but so far there have no updates with details about linkage between the two groups.  Earlier there were reports of birds dying at a golf course in Toronto, but the cause of the bird deaths have also not been reported.

There has been a heightened awareness about H5N1 wild bird flu because of outbreaks over the summer in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.  Recent reports indicate wild birds are still dying in Mongolia from H5N1, and sequences from isolates in Novosibirsk, Russia were just made public.

Included in the sequences were those from a great crested grebe that was asymptomatic.  The H5N1 sequences contained the highly pathogenic HA cleavage site.  The sequences was almost identical to the sequences from isolates from sick or dead domestic poultry from Novosibirsk farms, and was also very similar to 16 sequences isolated from bar headed geese and black and brown headed gulls for dead at the Qinghai Lake nature reserve in China in May.

The H5N1 in Russia, Kazkhstan, and Mongolia were reported for the first time, and the sequences contained polymorphisms commonly found in Europe and North America.  These sequences raise the possibility that H5N1 will be transported to these areas this season.

There have not been confirmed human cases from these outbreaks, but recent outbreaks in Indonesia have suggested a possible involvement of migratory birds.  Therefore, many countries are on high alert for H5N1 migrating into near areas, and the respiratory cases in Toronto have raised concerns.


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