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Mystery Illness Toll in Toronto Increases To Six Dead

Recombinomics Commentary

October 3, 2005

Dr. McKeown reported the following update:

· 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.

· Toronto Public Health staff have followed up 170 contacts connected to Seven Oaks. This includes families of children who attend the adjacent day nursery.

The above comments from the press release of Toronto Health indicates the number dead has risen to six, the number of employees infected is up to eight, the number of visitors infected is up to three and the number of residents admitted is up to 30.

Since the outbreak began on Sept 25, it seems likely that these numbers will increase, especially in secondary contacts like employees and visitors.  Increases in these categories suggest the etiological agent is infectious via casual contact and is not due to bacterial agents in the hospital.

Monitoring of the contacts will be important, since there is no quarantine and this category is growing.  Testing out autopsy material may help in the isolation of the etiological agent, which will be necessary for the validation of the negative data.  Generation of false negatives in viral infections is common, and the increasing numbers demand an aggressive investigation of the etiological agent.

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