Canada’s public health agency is reporting the country’s first baby with “severe neurological congenital anomalies” resulting from the Zika virus.
Thousands of babies have been born with microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head) and other birth defects since the Zika epidemic began in 2015 in Brazil, other parts of South and Central America, and elsewhere. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization declared the mosquito-borne virus a public health emergency of international concern.
Until this week, there had been no reported cases of birth defects related to Zika in Canada.
Public health officials are releasing no other information about the baby, including whether or not he or she is alive. It represents the second confirmed case of maternal-to-fetal transmission of the Zika virus in Canada.
The World Health Organization included the Canadian case in its Zika situation report released Thursday: “Canada is the latest country to report a case of congenital malformation associated with a travel-related case of Zika virus infection.” The WHO added that “probable location” of the infection is undetermined.
So. Today was the Tragically Hip’s final concert, ever. In their hometown in Kingston, Ontario.
Because their singer, Gord Downie, has terminal brain cancer. But they wanted to get one last tour in, to support their final album, after 33 years as a band.
It was live-streamed on CBC Radio, CBC’s tv networks, and all of their websites, nationwide, for free. Most towns and cities across Canada had public viewings with gigantic screens and PA systems, every bar and pub in the country appears to have had it on, and many of the country’s arenas opened to show it on gigantic screens (with all proceeds donated to the Canadian Cancer Foundation, in most cases)
So, in essence, Canadians watched or listened to a little - but culturally vital and ever-present for the past three decades - part of our country say goodbye tonight. An essential part of Canadiana. Gone forevermore.
Today was weird. And emotional. I don’t really know how to process this, honestly, because this has been such a like… quintessential band, for most of my life? And such a huge part of Canadian culture for literally my entire life.
But yeah. I’m rambling.
Essentially: this post is for Gord. Because I needed to ramble.
(For confused non-Canadians; the closest allegory I can think of is Bruce Springsteen announcing to the USA, out of the blue, “I’m probably going to be dead before the year is out, this is my final album, this is my final tour” - and then, say, PBS announcing that they’re going to broadcast the final show to every home they can get it to in every method possible. Swap Springsteen for your closest national analogue.)
I ended up spending two months traveling across the US (mod is Canadian, in case I haven’t mentioned it before). It was kind of a last minute decision though, so I never got the chance to officially announce a hiatus for this blog.
I don’t seem to have lost any followers in my time away though, which is a pleasant surprise.
Whirling disease in fish found in Banff lake a 1st in Canada, officials say
The first known Canadian case of whirling disease in fish has been found in Johnson Lake in Banff National Park.
Parks Canada said access is being restricted to the lake just east of the Banff townsite to prevent spread of the disease, which is not harmful to humans or other mammals, but can have a significant impact on some fish populations.
Fishing and recreational activities have been banned.
Whirling disease affects trout and salmon, and can cause infected fish to swim in a whirling pattern and die prematurely.
The disease is caused by the microscopic parasite Myxobolus cerebralis, which can be transmitted to other water bodies through gear and equipment used for swimming, paddling, boating and fishing.
Parks Canada conservation manager Bill Hunt said the disease is extremely difficult to contain, as the parasites are microscopic.
“It’s several times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. And so these spores can persist in the mud for up to several decades,” Hunt told CBC News.
He said it’s important people don’t move fish between bodies of water, and that entrails are disposed of properly.
Other ways to prevent the spread of the disease is to clean, drain and dry boats and equipment, he said.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said this the first time it has confirmed the disease in Canada. The agency said it is working closely with Parks Canada and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) to ensure a co-ordinated response.
Fish from other bodies of water in Banff National Park are being tested and AEP is sampling fish downstream from the park.
Suspected cases should be reported to 1-855-336-BOAT.