Category Archives: Ontario

#Canada | Public Health Notice – #Outbreak of #Ecoli infections with possible link to leafy greens

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7, commonly called E.coli, with a possible link to leafy greens. A specific product has not been identified yet, and the investigation is ongoing.

At this time, the risk to Canadians is low. However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans, but some varieties carry genes that allow them to cause illness.

While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.

Ongoing Investigation

There have been 12 cases of E.coli with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in Alberta (9), Saskatchewan (1), Ontario (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). The illness onset dates range from March 13 to March 31, 2015.

Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to leafy greens has emerged as a possible source of illness. Leafy greens can include all varieties of lettuces and other green leaf vegetables such as kale, spinach, arugula, or chard. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s investigation into the food source is ongoing. If products are identified, the Agency will inform the public and ensure that they are promptly removed from the marketplace.

The Public Health Agency routinely investigates multi-provincial gastro-intestinal illness outbreaks, including E.coli, in an effort to determine if illnesses are linked to the same source. The Agency will update Canadians when new information becomes available.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E.coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do

The following tips will help you reduce your risk of infection with E. coli or other food-borne illnesses:

  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them, clean counters and cutting boards and wash your hands regularly.
  • Bacteria can grow in the danger zone between 4 °C and 60 °C (40 °F to 140 °F). Keep cold foods cold at or below 4 °C (40 °F) and keep hot foods hot at or above 60 °C (140 °F).
  • Keep refrigerators clean and at a temperature below 4 °C (40 °F). Install a thermometer in your fridge to be sure.
  • Place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Use containers that are large enough to prevent raw juices from dripping onto other food or touching other food.
  • Keep raw food away from other food while shopping, storing, preparing and serving foods.
  • Read labels and follow cooking and storage instructions for all food. When buying food, make sure to check the “best before” date, and if the product has expired, let the store know.
  • Use warm soapy water to clean knives, cutting boards, utensils, your hands and any surfaces that have come in contact with food, especially meat and fish.
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within two hours of cooking.
  • Freeze or consume leftovers within four days of cooking. Always reheat leftovers until steaming hot before eating.

People infected with E.coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • slight fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days. However, some people who are infected with E.coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage, and some may die.

There is no real treatment for E.coli infections, other than monitoring the illness, providing comfort, and preventing dehydration through proper hydration and nutrition. People who develop complications may need further treatment, like dialysis for kidney failure. You should contact your health care provider if symptoms persist.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing

The Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with federal and provincial/territorial partners, will continue to monitor for and investigate any new cases of E.coli that may be related to this outbreak as part of its routine surveillance activities.

#USA | Highly pathogenic avian influenza #HPAI #H5N2 cases in #WI #MN #SD #IA #ND #MT #KS #AR #MO #OR #CA #WA #ID

Since December 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed several cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths).

The disease has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low.

No human cases of these HPAI H5 viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally.

Poultry Findings Confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories Include:

State County Flyway Flock type Species Avian influenza subtype* Confirmation date
WI Barron Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 16, 2015
MN Roseau Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 16, 2015
MN Kandiyoh Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 15, 2015
MN Stearns Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 15, 2015
MN Otter Tail Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 15, 2015
SD Roberts Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 15, 2015
MN Meeker Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 14, 2015
MN Kandiyohi Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 14, 2015
MN Meeker Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 14, 2015
MN Redwood Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 14, 2015
MN Swift Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 14, 2015
MN Stearns Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 13, 2015
MN Swift Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 13, 2015
IA Buena Vista Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 13, 2015
MN Le Sueur Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 11, 2015
WI Jefferson Mississippi Commercial Chickens EA/AM-H5N2 April 11, 2015
ND Dickey Central Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 10, 2015
MN Kandiyohi Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 11, 2015
SD McCook Central Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 10, 2015
SD McPherson Central Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 10, 2015
MN Cottonwood Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 9, 2015
MN Lyon Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 9, 2015
MN Stearns Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 9, 2015
MN Watonwan Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 9, 2015
SD Kingsbury Central Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 8, 2015
MN Meeker Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 7, 2015
MN Kandiyohi Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 7, 2015|
MN Kandiyohi Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 4, 2015
MN Stearns Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 4, 2015
MT Judith Basin Central Backyard Mixed poultry EA/AM-H5N2 April 2, 2015
MN Stearns Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 2, 2015
SD Beadle Central Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 1, 2015
MN Nobles Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 April 2, 2015
MN Stearns Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 March 28, 2015
MN Lac Qui Parle Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 March 27, 2015
KS Leavenworth Central Backyard Mixed poultry EA/AM-H5N2 March 13, 2015
AR Boone Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 March 11, 2015
MO Moniteau Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 March 10, 2015
MO Jasper Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 March 9, 2015
MN Pope Mississippi Commercial Turkeys EA/AM-H5N2 March 4, 2015
OR Deschutes Pacific Backyard Mixed poultry EA/AM-H5N2 February 17, 2015
CA Kings Pacific Commercial Chicken EA-H5N8 February 12, 2015
WA Okanogan Pacific Backyard Chicken EA/AM-H5N2 February 3, 2015
WA Okanogan Pacific Backyard Pheasant EA/AM-H5N2 January 29, 2015
CA Stanislaus Pacific Commercial Turkeys EA-H5N8 January 23, 2015
ID Canyon Pacific Backyard Mixed poultry EA/AM-H5N2 January 16, 2015
WA Clallam Pacific Backyard Mixed poultry EA/AM-H5N2 January 16, 2015
WA Benton Pacific Backyard Mixed poultry EA/AM-H5N2 January 9, 2015
WA Benton Pacific Backyard Mixed poultry EA/AM-H5N2 January 3, 2015
OR Douglas Pacific Backyard Mixed poultry EA -H5N8 December 19, 2015

Captive Wild Bird Findings Confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories:

State County Species Avian influenza subtype* Confirmation date
MT Flathead Captive gyrfalcon EA/AM-H5N2 March 27, 2015
MO St. Louis Captive falcon (hybrid) EA/AM-H5N2 March 27, 2015
ID Kootenai Captive gyrfalcon (2) EA-H5N8 January 29, 2015
February 6, 2015
ID Canyon Captive falcons,
Great horned owl
EA/AM-H5N2 January 16, 2015
February 2, 2015
WA Whatcom Captive gyrfalcon EA-H5N8 December 14, 2014

Wild Bird Findings confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories are available here.

Surveillance for avian influenza is ongoing in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations.

USDA is coordinating closely with its partners, including Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington State officials, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on avian influenza surveillance, reporting, and control efforts.  The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, where we actively look for the disease and provide 100% compensation to affected producers to encourage reporting.

USDA continues to inform OIE and international trading partners of these findings.  USDA is working with trading partners to minimize trade impacts on poultry and poultry products as much as possible.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, need to continue practicing good biosecurity, preventing contact between their birds and wild birds, and reporting sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.  Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at

USDA emphasizes that poultry, poultry products and wild birds (see biosecurity and wild birds) are safe to eat if they are properly handled and cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Background Information

The H5N8 virus originated in Asia and spread rapidly along wild bird migratory pathways during 2014, including the Pacific flyway.  In the Pacific flyway, the H5N8 virus has mixed with North American avian influenza viruses, creating new mixed-origin viruses.  This is not unexpected.  These mixed-origin viruses contain the Asian-origin H5 part of the virus, which is highly pathogenic to poultry.  The N parts of these viruses came from North American low pathogenic avian influenza viruses.

USDA has identified two mixed-origin viruses in the Pacific Flyway: the H5N2 virus and new H5N1 virus.  The new H5N1 virus is  not the same virus as the H5N1 virus found in Asia that has caused some human illness.  CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low.  Detailed analysis of the virus is underway in cooperation with CDC.

Ontario #ON | #Toronto #Paramedic Services annual awards ceremony honours those who stepped up to help save lives


On Thursday April 2, at Toronto Emergency Services Headquarters, Chief Paul Raftis hosted the division’s annual awards ceremony.

Among the more than 50 people recognized for their roles in helping paramedics save lives in Toronto over the past year were 32 residents and several employees of the Toronto Police Service, the City’s Corporate Security and the Toronto Transit Commission.

“I want to thank Toronto Paramedic Services for taking the initiative to host these awards,” said Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 10 York Centre), Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee.

“These awards not only recognize paramedic, emergency medical dispatch and operations support persons of the year, but also residents and bystanders who make a difference in stepping in to help a paramedic save a life.”

Chief Paul Raftis commented, “Each year, the number of residents and allied service members we recognize increases. This is a testament to the caring people who live in the city who are willing to step in and help a stranger, family member or friend in a medical emergency. It makes me proud to lead this team of dedicated medical professionals – and to also serve the people who live in our community.”

Toronto Paramedic Services employees submit names of residents, bystanders and allied service members to a nomination committee as events occur each year. The submissions are reviewed by a nominating committee for the selection of award recipients. Following is the list of award winners for 2015. A photo gallery will be posted shortly.

Toronto Paramedic Services Awards
Awarded to members of our staff who have gone above and beyond in the performance of thier duties.

John Dean Chief’s Award: Jay Gagne, Kris Staley, John Klich, Ian Beduya
Are recognized for their work on the District Performance Evaluation Tracking “Binder” System. This group developed and implemented a new work-flow process that modified our traditional approach of shift dependent supervision, and to more of a coordinated team approach within each district.

Pioneer of the Year Award: Dave Ralph
Since his retirement Dave has volunteered to represent our service at various public relations events, and has become involved with the Tema Conter Trust which promotes awareness of critical incident stress in emergency and military personnel. He has been a long term scout leader, is a member of the Paramedic Service Awards Review committee and also involved with the Public Hero’s awards through the Intercultural Dialogue Institute.

Paramedic of the Year: Dennis St. Pierre
Dennis has always been positive, caring, and compassionate with his patients and very supportive of new paramedics, helping to guide them as they learn their new career.
Dennis furthered his education to become a critical care paramedic and helped develop this new position with his positive outlook and proactive approach
He always acts as a consummate professional.

Support Persons of the Year: Damon Schreiber & Joey Simoes
Key contributors to many projects that the Division has supported, providing both on-duty and volunteer hours in support of these projects. Their jobs play a valuable role within the Service, documenting the work of the front lines on film and in the electronic world of the web and social media.

The Deputy Chief’s Health and Safety Award: Andrew Kemp & Mt. Sinai Hospital (Dr. Ovens)
This award recognizes individuals who have promoted health and safety awareness and made efforts to eliminate hazards in the workplace.

Merit Award: Maria Alkis
Maria increased staff donations to record levels and in turn brought our service to a top performer position based on percentages city wide for United Way campaign.

Allied Service Awards
Awarded to members of the Allied Services who displayed outstanding assistance to Toronto Paramedic Services.

Douglas Ramsay
Off-duty Simcoe County Paramedic Doug Ramsay noticed a male collapsed on the street. His CPR contributed to saving the man’s life.

Sukhdeep Dhaliwal
TTC Operator Sukhdeep Dhaliwal, was approached at 03:30 in the morning of July 13 by an individual who had suffered numerous stab wounds. Mr. Dhaliwal promptly called for an ambulance and police He then provided support and care until paramedics arrived even though the danger of the attacker being still in the area was possible.

TTC Operator Wayne Ferreira
Citizen Award: Lori McAuley
Lori McAuley noticed a male with no vital signs, she began CPR. At the same time TTC Operator Wayne Ferreira was making his way across Sheppard Avenue, when he noticed a bystander performing CPR on a pedestrian who had been struck by a vehicle.

Police Constable Jason Jones
Constable Jones responded to the reports of a one-year-old child not breathing after slipping under the water in a bathtub.
The quick actions of Constable Jones who was nearby in providing care and the advance care delivered by the paramedics when they arrived saved this child’s life.

Jabeen Ratanshi, Chris Currie, Samantha Doty
Security Guard Jabeen Ratanshi witnessed an elderly female collapse in the GO Concourse at Union Station.
With assistance from Security Guard Chris Currie and Samantha Doty they recognized that the patient was vital signs absent and began CPR followed by successful 2 shocks by the defibrillator.

Citizen Awards
To be awarded to a citizen who renders outstanding emergency assistance to Toronto Paramedic Services.

Daniel Bader, Fatma Toufexief
Daniel Bader and Fatma Toufexief came to aid of a woman saving her life.

Ajeev Bhatia, Alexander Pink
While playing basketball, Ajeev Bhatia witnessed his friend Jeremie go into cardiac arrest at a local fitness club. He promptly began CPR and was then assisted by Alex who works at the club.

Marilyn Allicock
On April 28, 2014 Marilyn Allicock came to the assistance of a woman and helped to successfully deliver a baby girl

Bon Nguyen, William MacKay, Charles Luo
Bon Nguyen came across Grant Reynolds who had collapsed at the Central YMCA fitness facility. He promptly called for help and then successfully began CPR.

Terry Jansen
On June 27, 2012, Terry noticed a fire on Bathurst Street, and ran inside the burning building to wake up the residents and get them to safety.

Mina Eglaycus
Mina rushed to a burning vehicle and with risk of serious injury to himself he was able to pull the driver free of the burning car.

Scott Culham
He promptly came to his assistance and began CPR on a cardiac arrest victim.

Sriram Rangan
He rescued an eight-year-old child submerged in a swimming pool.
Simon Casimir (11 yrs old)
His Mom began choking and required an ambulance. Her 11-year-old son Simon recognized the urgency and immediately took over calling for an ambulance. His actions in relaying information to the emergency medical dispatcher and giving clear directions resulted in his mother receiving prompt help.

Mary Lou Fulton, Augusta Waddell
They resuscitated a friend while attending a funeral.

Kyleigh Giroux
Eight-year-old Kyleigh Giroux was faced with the dilemma of how to help her mother who had just fallen off a bike and suffered a serious head injury. Kyleigh was able to recognize the urgency, contact the ambulance service and give detailed directions and information about her mother’s condition.

Katie Watkins, Melissa Hachey, Ben Scholes, Graham Vanderlinde,Kathryn Haggis
This group sprang into action to start CPR and administer a life-saving shock with an AED to a woman at Variety Village

Sydney Crawford, Meagan Sin, Bridget Punch
Lifeguard Sydney Crawford noticed a swimmer in trouble at the Donald Summerville Pool. She entered the water to pull the swimmer out with the assistance of Meagan Sin. Not feeling a pulse, Bridget Punch applied AED and provided CPR. CPR was continued until the patient began to respond, at which time paramedics had arrived and had taken over care. The actions of the lifeguards saved a life that day.

Doug Jamieson, Randy Collins
They resuscitated a13-year-old who had collapsed in cardiac arrest.

Jeremy Kwong, Lora Tanfara
They resuscitated a friend who collapsed in cardiac arrest while playing Pickleball.

Karl Werleman
Karl noticed a male collapsed in his car and went to assist and resuscitate him.

David Goodman
David Goodman, a former Toronto paramedic, was driving home and saw Sandy Laidlaw lying on the sidewalk. He stopped and resuscitated the man.

Media Awards

Tony Smith: Twitter Coverage
Tony captures photographs from the overnight street beat for CBC news.
Hardly a week goes by where Tony has not posted a photo of Toronto paramedics at work around our city and complementing them for their service.

His Twitter site is a chronological history of the night in the life of a Toronto paramedic.

Andrew Palamarchuk: Print Media
Andrew is recognized for his constant coverage of Toronto paramedics at work including their involvement in major incidents or their care of patients. He regularly writes about events happening at Toronto Paramedic Services and the staff who work here.

Valour Awards
To be awarded in recognition of performance above and beyond the call of duty as evidenced by an act of bravery.

Ric Rangel-Bron
While in France with a group of Air Cadets, Ric Rangel-Bron came across a farm house with a chimney fire and the house starting to fill with smoke. He approached the residence and soon learned that there were still people inside. Without concern for his own well being, he promptly entered the residence and assisted evacuating 3 people and the family pets before the fire spread beyond the chimney and roof.

Bill Ingram, Spencer Devecseri, Angelo Nero
They heard someone screaming for help and heard objects being smashed inside.
They entered the house and found their patient attacking a family member. They intervened, and restrained the patient until police assistance arrived. The patient was treated and transported to hospital. Their actions prevented serious injury occurring to the family member with risk to themselves.

Emmanuel Monssen
On August 23, 2014, Emmanuel Monssen and his partner responded to a report of a hydro worker electrocuted and hanging unconscious from a harness a distance from the ground. Upon arrival, Emmanuel realized that this patient’s breathing was compromised and needed rapid life saving intervention.
With no concern about his own safety, he promptly climbed a ladder which was leaning up against a transformer in order to reach this individual and establish a clear airway. Along with a hydro worker he was able to stabilize the patient until he could be safely lowered to other paramedics.

Greg Mercer, David Pattinson
They chased after a patient onto Highway 27 where the patient was dodging passing cars in an attempt to prevent cars from hitting him, and brought him back into the hospital. Upon arrival of police, this large individual began fighting them, tossing the police around as they tried to restrain him. Both Greg and David assisted in bringing this person under control.

Ontario #ON | Avian influenza #H5 confirmed on a #turkey farm near #Woodstock

Preliminary testing by the Province of Ontario has confirmed the presence of H5 avian influenza on a turkey farm near Woodstock, Ontario.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has placed the farm, and a neighbouring farm, under quarantine to control disease spread and the industry sector has been notified to adopt enhanced biosecurity practices. Further testing by the CFIA is underway to confirm pathogenicity and to determine the precise subtype and strain of the virus. Pathogenicity refers to the severity of the illness caused in birds. Results are expected within days.

Avian influenza does not pose a risk to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked. Avian influenza rarely affects humans that do not have consistent contact with infected birds. Public health authorities stand ready to take precautionary measures as warranted.

Initial tests for the disease were conducted on April 5 at the Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph, after the turkey farm experienced sudden deaths of birds over several days.

All birds on the infected premises will be humanely euthanized and disposed of, in accordance with provincial environmental regulations and internationally accepted disease control guidelines. As lead response agency the CFIA will ensure the quarantine of the infected farm, and determine a surrounding surveillance zone for further testing and movement control measures. The CFIA will also lead on required depopulation of birds, while the Province will provide technical support on required carcass disposal. Once all birds have been removed, the CFIA will oversee the cleaning and disinfection of the barns, vehicles, equipment and tools to eliminate any infectious material that may remain.

The Province of Ontario, the CFIA, the owner of the infected birds, and the poultry industry are working closely together to manage the situation. Both levels of government will work with the poultry industry to address issues as they emerge. The Canadian poultry sector currently practices a high level of biosecurity that reduces the risk of disease spread.

British Columbia / Ontario | New drug trial puts possible stroke treatment in the hands of paramedics

Paramedics in Toronto, Vancouver, Richmond and the Region of Peel in suburban Toronto will soon administer a stroke drug, called NA-1, to eligible stroke victims as part of a new 558-patient randomized control trial.

The trial will begin in Toronto on March 16 and expand to the other cities thereafter.

NA-1 has already been shown to reduce damage caused by stroke and to improve brain function for patients undergoing brain surgery. The study, known as FRONTIER, will compare outcomes when paramedics give either NA-1 or placebo to patients while transporting patients to the closest stroke centre. Once in hospital, patients will receive standard care for strokes.

Canadians who suffer a stroke and receive emergency services support from Peel Regional Paramedic Services, BC Emergency Health Services or Toronto Paramedic Services will be enrolled in the trial, if they meet eligibility criteria. The Toronto, Vancouver and Region of Peel stroke centres participating in FRONTIER are:

Participant’s consent is required before a product is delivered in most clinical trials. However, given the immediate nature of emergency stroke care, the consent process has been deferred by Health Canada and the Research Ethics Boards at the centres participating in this trial. Participants and families will be informed and asked for consent to continue in the study once the medical emergency has stabilized.

Stroke is the most significant cause of neurological disability and death worldwide. It affects 62,000 Canadians and kills more than 11,000 annually.

The FRONTIER trial is supported by a Multi-Investigator Research Initiative grant from the Brain Canada Foundation and sponsored by NoNO Inc.

To learn more, please visit or contact the Rescu at 1-888-707-3015. Additional information on the trial is available at

Ontario | Hamilton Public Health Services investigating a case of Measles

Hamilton Public Health Services is investigating a confirmed case of measles in a Hamilton adult. This person most likely caught measles while travelling, however, there may have been exposures in public settings in Hamilton. Public Health Services is currently working to identify individuals who may require follow up.

Persons who have not had 2 doses of a measles vaccine, such as MMR or MMRV, or those who have not had measles infection in the past are at higher risk.

Persons who visited any of the following public locations may have been exposed to measles:

Sunday, March 8

  • Sobeys Meadowlands, 977 Golf Links Rd, Ancaster – 9:00am to 12:00pm
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 1000 Golf Links Rd, Ancaster – 8:00pm to 10:10pm

Monday, March 9

  • Popeye’s Chicken, 6-550 Fennell Ave E, Hamilton – 4:00pm to 6:15pm

Tuesday, March 10

  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 1000 Golf Links Rd, Ancaster – 1:30pm to 3:45pm

Wednesday, March 11

  • Shoppers Drug Mart, 133 King St. W., Dundas – 11:35am to 1:40pm

If you were at these locations during the specified time and you have not had 2 doses of a measles vaccine or have not had (red) measles infection in the past, please see the website for further information at www.hamilton.caIf you have additional questions, please contact Hamilton Public Health Services at 905-546-2489.

“Measles is highly contagious to susceptible people from the beginning of the illness until four days after the rash first appears,” said Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Hamilton. “Immunization is the best protection and Hamilton Public Health Services encourages all residents keep their immunizations up to date.”

Measles starts with cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and fever, and after about four days a rash begins on the face and moves down the body. Measles spreads easily to persons who are not immune. Infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles. Complications of measles can include middle ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the brain.

If you think you may have measles and need to see a doctor, you must call ahead to the doctor’s office, walk-in clinic, or emergency department. This will allow health care staff to give you a mask to wear when you arrive and take you straight to a room in which you can be isolated to prevent giving measles to other people.


Ontario | City of Toronto continues to address frozen pipes and urges residents to help each other

The City of Toronto is continuing to respond to an unprecedented number of “no water” calls due to frozen drinking water pipes as a result of the prolonged, extreme cold weather.

The City is urging residents to help neighbours without water until crews can visit the home to investigate the issue. If, during the visit, the pipes are found to be frozen outside, crews will attempt to establish a temporary water supply to the neighbour, if consent is provided.

“Toronto Water is working as quickly as possible to get to each home,” said Lou Di Gironimo, General Manager, Toronto Water. “We have mobilized all available crews, along with staff from other areas and contractors, to enhance emergency response.”

Since the cold weather first hit on February 14, the City has received more than 2,600 “no water” calls – 10 times the number received in a typical year. This number continues to grow by approximately 110 to 130 new “no water” calls each day.

In the majority of cases, investigation has determined that the pipes are frozen within the home. Residents are encouraged to visit for tips on how to thaw frozen pipes.

If these steps do not work, residents should call 311 and someone from the City’s no water “SWAT” team will contact them within 24 hours to schedule a site visit. Due to current call volumes, visits are being booked five days from today.

Once crews arrive, if the pipes are frozen outside and they have the neighbour’s consent, they will attempt to establish a temporary water supply connection (called a highline) by attaching a hose between the two homes. Neighbours will not be charged for any additional water use during this period.

If a highline is not possible, either for mechanical reasons or the neighbour would prefer not to install a connection, the property will be put on the list to have the outside water service pipe thawed.

To date, there are 223 homes on highline and another 171 on the list to be thawed. Thawing is an extensive process that involves excavating six feet into frozen ground to expose the pipe and apply heat. This can take anywhere from three to eight hours, as each property is different. As a result, it can take seven to 10 days for crews to visit each home to thaw the pipe.

“We understand this is a difficult time for many. We thank everyone who is making an effort to support their neighbour and for their continued patience as we work to restore water to affected homes in Toronto,” said Di Gironimo.

To learn more about how to prevent and thaw frozen pipes and what the City is doing to address the issue, visit

Ontario | City of Hamilton continues to manage hundreds of calls about frozen water pipes

Hamilton Water is continuing to manage hundreds of calls from residents across the city who have no water due to frozen water pipes. The milder weather we’re experiencing this week has provided no reprieve from the occurrence of frozen water lines. The City has now received over 800 calls related to frozen water services since February 14th.

In an effort to streamline the customer service process and reduce call wait times, all citizen reports of frozen water service and requests for potable water delivery are being directed to This central email address will provide a single point of contact where requests can be prioritized and actioned efficiently. Residents may still call 546-CITY (2489) or Hamilton Water’s Customer Service line at 905-546-4426 but may experience longer wait periods to speak with a representative. Both call centres have added extra staff to help manage the high volume of calls coming in on this issue.

“Providing reliable and efficient service to affected residents is the top priority for Hamilton Water,” said Dan McKinnon, Director of Hamilton Water. “We thank residents for their patience and want you to know that we remain solely committed to this issue until every affected water service is thawed.”

The current response time for Hamilton Water to thaw a service is about five to seven days. Staff are continuing to retain additional staff and external contractors to assist with the response efforts.

Hamilton Water is now also offering their services to residents as a first response rather than requiring a homeowner to hire a plumber first. This may result in longer wait times but some residents have expressed that they are more comfortable working directly with City staff. If the frozen water service is found to be on private property the City will then bill the homeowner.

The City is making arrangements to open some recreation centres to provide showering facilities for affected residents. More details will be provided once the locations are finalized.

The City also encourages residents to be a good neighbour and check in on elderly or vulnerable people who may require extra support before the City is able to respond to the home.

Read more tips for frozen pipes


Ontario | Public health advisory issued after person with measles attended ‘Acquire The Fire’ event at Queensway Cathedral in Toronto

The Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robin Williams, is issuing this important advisory to individuals who attended the “Acquire the Fire” event, a mass gathering of youth that was held in Toronto at Queensway Cathedral on February 6 and 7, 2015.  A large number of youth from all over Ontario, as well as performers, volunteers and speakers attended this event: 

As a result of the ongoing investigation into measles cases in this province, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care was advised today of a person with a newly-confirmed case of measles who had attended this event during the measles infectious period.

Fortunately, most adolescents in Ontario are appropriately immunized with two doses of measles vaccine, and for most, this is highly effective at preventing measles. However, individuals who attended this event and are born after 1970 are requested to review their immunization status to ensure they are protected against measles. Blood testing to check measles immunity is not required or recommended.

If they have not been adequately immunized, they are requested to immediately self-isolate by staying at home and contact their local public health unit for important additional guidance.  Or they can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000/TTY: 1-866-797-0007. They should not attend any public gatherings and should not attend school, work, daycare, or any post-secondary institutions until they are cleared of measles risk.

Symptoms of measles include at least one of: fever, cough, runny nose, inflammation of the eyes or rash. If individuals who attended this event should develop these symptoms over the next two weeks, they are advised to contact their primary care provider by phone and also the local public health unit. Unimmunized event attenders who develop these signs and symptoms must not present for care to their health care provider or emergency department without speaking by phone first to alert health care providers to their measles risk.

The province of Ontario is working closely with Public Health Ontario, the health care system and local public health officials to investigate and respond to this development.

Ontario | Ottawa – Public health officials issue Frostbite Warning

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has issued a Frostbite Warning to ensure people take appropriate precautions before going outside and to encourage homeless people to seek indoor shelter from the cold. This warning is in effect from Thursday, February 12, 2015 until further notice.

A Frostbite Warning is issued when a wind chill of -35 or colder is forecast for the Ottawa area.  With a wind chill of -35 or colder, exposed skin can freeze in less than ten minutes.  There is also an increased risk of hypothermia for people who stay outside for long periods of time without adequate protection. Overexposure can result in severe injury and even death.  OPH recommends that you wear several layers of clothing to keep warm and make sure that the outer layer protects you from wind and moisture.

Frostbite results when the skin and underlying tissues freeze.  Skin is white and waxy and feels hard to the touch.  Frostbite is a serious condition that can require amputation.  Medical attention is advised.  Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite where only the skin freezes. Both frostbite and frostnip can be treated by gradually warning skin using body heat or warm water.  Never rub or massage affected areas.

Children, the elderly, people with poor circulation and the homeless are particularly vulnerable to cold weather.  There are many services available to help the homeless:

  • Emergency sleeping spaces in Ottawa shelters,
  • Street outreach services to encourage homeless people to come in from the cold, and
  • Provision of emergency transportation and other services by the Salvation Army.

To seek assistance for a homeless person, concerned citizens are encouraged to call: 3-1-1.  Calls are answered by the City of Ottawa Call Centre on a priority basis and referrals are made to the appropriate services.

For more information on frostbite, hypothermia and cold weather precautions visit or call 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656).

Look for our live extreme weather updates on Twitter @OttawaHealth. You can also connect with OPH on FacebookTumblr, and Pinterest.