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West Nile Virus

West Nile VIRUS, a member of the flavivirus family, is related to the viruses that cause dengue and yellow fevers. The effects of infection with West Nile virus range from no symptoms to severe illness and even death.

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Cancer

Cancer is a term describing more than 100, possibly as many as 200, different diseases characterized by the common property of abnormal cell growth. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in Canada and second only to accidents as a cause of death in children under 15 years of age.

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Smallpox in Canada

Smallpox is an infectious disease caused by the variola virus. The disease arrived in what is now Canada with French settlers in the early 17th century. Indigenous people had no immunity to smallpox, resulting in devastating infection and death rates. In 1768, arm-to-arm inoculation became more widely practised in North America. By 1800, advances in vaccination helped control the spread of smallpox. Public health efforts also reduced rates of infection. In the 20th century, Canadian scientists helped the World Health Organization eradicate smallpox. Eradication was achieved in 1979, but virus stocks still exist for research and safety reasons.

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Epidemics in Canada

An epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads rapidly throughout a community at a particular time. Several epidemics have occurred over the course of Canadian history, the most disastrous being those which affected Indigenous peoples following the arrival of Europeans.

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Influenza (Flu) in Canada

Influenza, often referred to as the flu, is a common, contagious respiratory illness. There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C and D. While influenza A, B and C viruses can infect humans, influenza D is believed to primarily affect animals such as cattle and pigs. Influenza C is rare in comparison to influenza A and B, which are the main sources of the “seasonal flu,” or the viruses that circulate in Canada and other countries each winter. Influenza A is also the source of flu pandemics. Canada has experienced five influenza pandemics since the late 19th century, in 1890, 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. In Canada, influenza causes an estimated 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths each year.

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Cholera in Canada

Cholera first reached Canada in 1832, brought by immigrants from Britain. Epidemics occurred in 1832, 1834, 1849, 1851, 1852 and 1854. There were cases in Halifax in 1881. The epidemics killed at least 20 000 people in Canada.

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H1N1 Flu of 2009 in Canada

From April to December 2009, Canada experienced an outbreak of influenza A (H1N1). The virus began in North America and spread to many other countries in a global pandemic. This new type of flu differed from the typical seasonal flu, and its effects were more severe. Worldwide, more than 18,000 people are confirmed to have died of H1N1, including 428 Canadians. Estimates based on statistical models have put global deaths much higher. Totals may have been in the hundreds of thousands. The H1N1 pandemic tested Canada’s improvements to its public health system after the SARS outbreak of 2003. On the whole, it revealed a more efficient, coordinated response.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Heart Disease

In industrial countries more people die from diseases of the heart and blood vessels than from any other single cause.

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Royal Victoria Hospital

Royal Victoria Hospital, Montréal, is a teaching hospital affiliated with McGill University. Its original building on the southern slopes of Mount Royal is the premier Canadian illustration of pavilion-plan hospital architecture.

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Canadian Medical Association

Canadian Medical Association, est 1867 by 167 doctors in Québec City. It is a voluntary federation of 10 autonomous provincial medical associations united at the national level and now represents the majority of English- and French-speaking physicians across Canada.

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Specific Learning Disabilities

​Children and youth with learning disabilities typically have average to above average intelligence but also have problems perceiving (making sense of) or using information that results in a pattern of uneven abilities and observable weaknesses in reading, writing, speaking, listening, problem solving, mathematics, and social skills.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disease in Canada. Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world with a prevalence of about one case for every 500-1000 people.

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Dorothea Palmer

Dorothea Ferguson (née Palmer), birth control advocate, social worker (born 1908 in England; died 5 November 1992 in Ottawa, ON). Dorothea Palmer was arrested in 1936 for advertising birth control to women in a working-class neighbourhood in Ottawa. She was cleared of charges after a lengthy trial proved her work had been for the public good. Her acquittal was a major victory for the birth control movement in Canada.