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Canadian Hospital Fails to Quarantine Patients with Swine Flu Symptoms

Monday, May 04, 2009 by: Louis Lazaris
Tags: Ontario, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Three young women from Ontario's town of Port Perry who returned from a trip to Cancun, Mexico, in late April have potentially exposed hundreds of people to swine flu after being released from Lakeridge Health's Port Perry hospital and told they were "fine". The three Ontario residents, Canada's first confirmed cases of swine flu, were released despite showing symptoms, and were not immediately given instructions on being quarantined.

Justine Stevenson and two of her girlfriends flew to Cancun, Mexico on April 17; then, all three began getting sick within just a few days, beginning on Monday, April 20. The young girls were flown back to Toronto's Pearson International Airport one week after arriving, on Friday, April 24, and were immediately taken to Lakeridge Health's Port Perry hospital by one of the girls' mothers, who is a nurse there.

At the hospital, the doctor in the emergency room called the local public health department, as required because of the recent outbreak. He then took chest X-Rays, tested for influenza and released the girls from the hospital without advising them to minimize human contact or be quarantined.

"The hospital said we were fine, that we were good to go. We had all the symptoms so it was sketchy that they said we were fine," Justine later recalled.

A Lakeridge hospital official did not comment specifically on this case, but maintained that all proper protocols had been followed.

Since swine flu can be spread up to seven days after the onset of illness, the three girls may have unknowingly spread the influenza to hundreds of people. After being released from the hospital, the girls visited a local casino and had several get-togethers with friends. Only after their tests from Lakeridge came back were they told to stay home.

On Monday, April 27, the young women learned that they had tested positive for Influenza A, after which local public health officials told them to stay home, wear a mask around other members of the family, and begin taking Relenza, an anti-viral medication, just in case the symptoms did turn out to be due to swine flu.

On Tuesday afternoon the girls received a call from the local public health department confirming that they were the first known swine flu cases in Ontario. As of Thursday, April 30, Justine's family had yet to receive instructions from public health officials on how to handle their potential exposure to the disease - despite that Justine's mother runs a child daycare business out of her home, where Justine lives.

On April 28, the local health department where the three young women are located put out a press release regarding the case, with one of its officials stating, "The Health Department received confirmation [of the three cases] from the [Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care] earlier this afternoon. Fortunately, all three cases are experiencing mild symptoms of the disease and have not been hospitalized. There has also been no other transmission from these cases and there will be no quarantine of contacts of the cases."

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health has publicly stated that the province is well prepared for any more outbreaks, and a Toronto news report says that despite not knowing the origin of all cases, there is no evidence that any of the known cases originated anywhere but Mexico.

As of this writing, there are 19 total cases of the strain in Canada, 7 of which are in Ontario.

Sources:
http://www.torontosun.com/news/columnists/mi... http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_34142.aspx
http://www.region.durham.on.ca/news.asp?nr=d...

About the author

Louis Lazaris is a website designer and the owner of Natural-Life.ca, a directory that provides free business listings for natural health practitioners, organic food stores, organic farms, and organic & vegetarian restaurants in major North American cities like Toronto and New York City.

Louis also maintains a web design blog where he regularly posts articles and tutorials on web development.

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