Yesterday, Toronto Public Health issued a bulletin with respect to the cases of the undiagnosed viral pneumonia which are being investigated by health authorities in the City of Wuhan, in central China. Chinese authorities have engaged the World Health Organization (WHO) to assist with the investigation. The WHO reports that the main symptoms of this pneumonia are a fever followed by difficulty breathing. Toronto Public Health is not aware of any reported cases of this illness in Canada and the overall risk to residents is considered very low.
This outbreak in Wuhan comes in the middle of the Canadian flu season, which may put further pressure on our doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. Typical flu symptoms include a high fever; chills; a sore throat; a cough; muscle aches; loss of appetite; and, feeling tired. Most people recover from the flu in a week to 10 days.
Toronto Public Health advises members of the public to take the usual measures to reduce the risk of transmission of the flu and respiratory illness. These measures include:
- get a yearly influenza vaccination, available from clinics and pharmacies;
- wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-hand sanitizer;
- cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;
- if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm; and,
- stay home if you are ill.
Given that Toronto Pearson International Airport is an international travel hub, Toronto Public Health is actively monitoring this situation, along with provincial and national health agencies.
Residents who return from recent international travel and become ill with respiratory signs and symptoms, such as cough and fever, are reminded to report their travel history to any health professional, or an emergency room, when they visit.
While there is no reason for concern at the moment, I am in contact with the doctors at the Scarborough Hospital-Grace Division (Birchmount Campus). Should the situation change, I will immediately email you, my constituents, of the change.