Friday, April 24, 2009

Ontario officials warn of mysterious Mexican illness

By Lee Greenberg , The Ottawa CitizenApril 23, 2009 6:01 PMComments (1)

TORONTO – Ontario officials are scrambling to deal with a mysterious, SARS-likle illness that has killed an estimated 20 people in Mexico.

Dr. Arlene King, who leads the Centre for Immunization and Respiratory Infectious Diseases at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said her organization just learned about the severe respiratory outbreak in the “last couple of days.”

“There are pneumonia outbreaks, probably of an unknown origin at this point in time, occurring in Mexico,” Dr. King told a news conference Thursday, where she was named the province’s new chief medical officer of health beginning June 15. “A number of different clusters have occurred over the last month or so… And these have obviously created concern related to their potential to get larger and to spread outside Mexico.”

Ontario public health officials have asked local authorities to be on the lookout for influenza-like illness among people who have recently traveled to Mexico, where an estimated 20 people have died from the illness in recent weeks.

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