Search for "disease"

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George C. Ebers

George Cornell Ebers, neurologist, researcher (born 24 July 1946 in Budapest, Hungary). Ebers has published extensively with more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals, three books, 25 book chapters, and multiple editorials to his name. He has contributed significant medical research into multiple sclerosis (MS). A former professor at Western University and the University of Oxford, Ebers was awarded the John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts the body’s central nervous system. As of September 2020 an estimated 2.8 million people are living with MS worldwide. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world with over 90,000 Canadians living with the disease. There is no known cure for MS, but treatments can help address symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

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Avian Influenza in Canada

Avian influenza, commonly known as “bird flu”, is a contagious viral disease that can affect several species of birds used in food production (e.g., chickens, turkeys), as well as pet birds, wild birds and some mammals (see Poultry Farming). The viruses responsible for the disease can be classified into two categories: high pathogenicity or low pathogenicity. The highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype of the avian influenza virus is transmissible to humans. In Canada, cases of avian influenza must be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

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Pandemics in Canada

A pandemic is an outbreak of an infectious disease that affects a large proportion of the population in multiple countries or worldwide. Human populations have been affected by pandemics since ancient times. These include widespread outbreaks of plague, cholera, influenza and, more recently, HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. In order to slow or stop the spread of disease, governments implement public health measures that include testing, isolation and quarantine. In Canada, public health agencies at the federal, provincial and municipal levels play an important role in monitoring disease, advising governments and communicating to the public.

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Quarantine Act

Canada adopted quarantine legislation in 1872, five years after Confederation. It was replaced by the current Quarantine Act, which was passed by the Parliament of Canada and received royal assent in 2005. The act gives sweeping powers to the federal health minister to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases. These powers can include health screenings, the creation of quarantine facilities and mandatory isolation orders. The Quarantine Act was introduced in the wake of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis of 2003. It was invoked in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Metchosin

Metchosin, British Columbia, incorporated as a district municipality in 1984, population 4,708 (2016 census), 4,803 (2011 census). The District of Metchosin is located on Vancouver Island. It overlooks the Juan de Fuca Strait. Metchosin is part of the Greater Victoria area. From the late 1800s to 1958, a quarantine station operated at William Head in Metchosin. Many immigrants arriving to Canada by ship were quarantined at William Head before being allowed to enter the country. This was done in an effort to prevent the spread of infectious diseases common on overcrowded ships. In addition, from 1924 to 1956, there was a leper colony on nearby Bentinck Island.

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Partridge Island

Partridge Island is located in the Bay of Fundy, about 1 km from the shoreline and the city of Saint John, New Brunswick. The island was set aside as a quarantine station in 1785 and operated as such between 1830 and 1941. Many immigrants arriving to Canada by ship, including thousands of  Irish in 1847, were isolated on the island before being allowed to enter the country. This was done in an effort to prevent the spread of infectious diseases common on overcrowded vessels. In 1974, the Partridge Island quarantine station was designated a national historic site. Other important events are associated with the island, including the installation of the world’s first steam-operated fog alarm in 1859 (see also Robert Foulis).

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Krever Inquiry

The Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada, also known as the Krever Inquiry, was a public investigation of the Canadian blood system, which had been contaminated with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus during the 1980s. (See also Aids.) In 1993, a public inquiry into the Canadian blood system was established and Justice Horace Krever was named commissioner. The infection of thousands of Canadians with (HIV) and hepatitis C is Canada's worst- ever preventable public health disaster. It has also become one of its most prolonged legal sagas, featuring a high-profile public inquiry, almost $10 billion in legal claims and a criminal investigation.

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COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada

COVID-19 is a severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by a new type of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that emerged in 2019. The virus caused the first cases in China and then quickly spread around the world. As of early March 2023, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 759 million confirmed cases and 6.87 million deaths globally, including over 4.6 million cases and 51,447 deaths in Canada. It is one of the deadliest pandemics in world history and among the most disruptive and transformative on many levels, especially economically and socially.

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This is the full-length entry about the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).

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Bernard Belleau

Joseph Rolland Bernard Belleau, FRSC, OC, biochemist, medical chemist, (born 15 March 1925 in Montreal, QC; died 4 September 1989 in Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, QC). Bernard Belleau was a Canadian pioneer in therapeutic chemistry, merging the fields of synthetic chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology for use in medicine. He is acclaimed for his discovery and synthesis of the drug 3TC (2,3 dideoxy – 3-thiacytidine), also known as lamivudine or Epivir, used as an anti-viral for HIV/AIDS. He also developed butorphanol (Stadol), in the hope of having a non-addictive alternative to morphine, which is used to treat pain. Bernard Belleau’s discoveries have bettered human health and saved millions of lives globally.

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Judie Alimonti

Judie Barbara Alimonti, immunologist (born 13 March 1960 in Kelowna, BC; died 26 December 2017 in Ottawa, ON). Alimonti made a significant contribution to one of Canada’s greatest achievements in medical science and public health, the development of the Ebola vaccine. (See also Medical Research.) From 2010 to 2015, Alimonti managed the Ebola vaccine during a time when research was underfunded. Alimonti received little recognition for her work during her lifetime, and her colleagues have called her the unsung hero of the Ebola vaccine story.

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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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COVID-19 Vaccines

In early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated, it seemed very unlikely that a safe and effective vaccine could be developed and deployed within one to two years. A vaccine had never been developed against a new virus during a pandemic, and there was no approved vaccine yet to prevent a coronavirus infection in humans. Despite this, the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved in December 2020, about a year after the first cases were reported. By July 2021, there were more than 30 COVID-19 vaccines authorized for public use by at least one national regulatory authority. This was possible because of decades of research on coronaviruses and vaccine technology — particularly in the use of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) — significant government investment, and unprecedented cooperation between governments and university research labs, pharmaceutical firms and international health organizations. Several Canadian scientists were involved in key elements of the research that led to the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

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

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Potato Wart Disease

Potato wart disease, also called potato canker, is a fungal disease of potato sprouts, eyes and stolons. The disease is caused by the soil-borne fungus, Synchytrium endobioticum. Potato wart disease poses no danger to human health or food safety, but it can impact local economies as the disease can reduce yield and effect economic regulations, such as potato exports. (See also Agricultural Economics.)

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SARS in Canada

Canada experienced an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003. Most of the infections originated in Toronto hospitals. The outbreak led to the quarantine of thousands, killed 44 people and took an economic toll on Toronto. It also exposed the country’s ill-prepared health-care system. Confusion around SARS fuelled an uptick in anti-Asian racism and anti-immigrant sentiment.

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

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Canadian Lipid Nanoparticle Research: The Key to COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines were the first vaccines to be developed, tested, produced and delivered amid a global pandemic (see Covid-19 Pandemic in Canada). As the typical vaccine development, testing and regulatory approval process can take anywhere from 10 to 15 years, several distinctive strategies, coupled with previous research work in key areas, combined to expedite the approval of COVID-19 vaccines, especially messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based vaccines. Among the most significant of this previous work was the research undertaken by the team of Pieter Cullis, Michael Hope and Thomas Madden at the University of British Columbia that began in the early 1980s. Their work, which focused on studying and developing lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), as well as pioneering the technology to produce them, provided the key to making COVID-19 mRNA vaccines possible.

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Samira Mubareka

Samira Mubareka, physician, virologist, researcher, FRCPC (born 1972 in Gottingen, Germany). Dr. Mubareka is an infectious diseases physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an Associate Professor in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She served on the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table from 2020 to-2022. Along with other Canadian researchers, she worked to isolate the SARS-CoV-2 virus and sequence the virus’s genome. (See also Covid-19 Pandemic in Canada).

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Public Health in Canada

Illness and disease are communal problems. While individual interventions can have an impact, they are less effective than measures that can be done at a community level. Preventing disease and promoting health among individuals and the population at large is the purpose of public health. Public health is managed by local, regional, national and international public health authorities. Public health interventions include research, prevention, education and emergency preparedness. The most important public health interventions for reducing mortality over the past 150 years have included cleaning the water and air, making roads safer and immunizing against infectious diseases. Ironically, as is often said by public health practitioners, success in public health is often invisible when measures are working. In Canada, the rapid emergence, urgency, severity, global scope and long persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic has put all aspects of public health in the public and political spotlight to a greater degree than ever before. For some Canadians, this has resulted in a loss of confidence in public health authorities, while others have realized the importance of maintaining and funding public health.

This is the full-length entry about Public Health in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see Public Health in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).