Category Archives: Alert

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Advisory

The recent warm temperatures in the province may result in the quick formation of algae blooms.

The Water Security Agency and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health are advising the public to avoid direct contact and any consumption of any surface water where blue-green algae blooms are occurring. Blue-green algae blooms can be harmful for household pets and livestock. Residents and producers are advised to keep their animals away from these areas.

Algae blooms are heavy concentrations of blue-green algae, which often give the water a shimmering, foamy and often pea soup appearance. The blooms may be blue-green, bright blue, grey or tan in colour.

Algae blooms commonly occur during calm, hot weather in areas of lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow moving or still water that has sufficient nutrients. The blooms can last up to three weeks and can be pushed around the lake or reservoir by the wind.

Direct contact or consumption of algae-contaminated water can cause red skin, sore throat, cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, caution should be taken when considering the consumption of fish or shellfish caught in areas of a water body where a bloom exists; the internal organs of the fish should not be eaten.

If you have health symptoms, call Healthline 811 or contact your health care provider.

For further information on blue-green algae view this fact sheet and for complete details on the advisory visit www.saskatchewan.ca.

Food Recall Warning for President’s Choice brand Pub Recipe Chicken Nuggets Due to Salmonella

Ottawa, July 12, 2017 – Loblaw Companies Limited is recalling President’s Choice brand Pub Recipe Chicken Nuggets from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.
Brand Name: President’s Choice- Pub Recipe Chicken Nuggets- Uncooked Breaded Cutlettes 
Size: 800g
Product Code(s) 2018 MR 15, UPC: 0 60383 13171 5
What you should do

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

Background

This recall was triggered by findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

Illnesses

There have been reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

For more details on this affected product and the recall visit Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Food Recall Warning For Robin Hood Brand All Purpose Flour, Original

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli, called E. coli O121 that has now been linked to Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a food recall warning advising Canadians of the recalled product that has been distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The investigation is ongoing and it is possible that additional products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified.

Canadians are advised not to use or eat any Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original sold in 10 kilogram bags with a code containing BB/MA 2018 AL 17 and 6 291 548 as these products may be contaminated with E. coli.

This outbreak is a reminder that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough or batter, regardless of the type of flour used as raw flour can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E.coli.

E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, other animals, and humans. Most E. coli are harmless to humans. However, there are many different strains of E.coli, and some varieties can cause serious illness.

Who is most at risk?

Although anyone can get an E. coli infection, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications.

What you should do to protect your health?

Check to see if you have the recalled product in your home.  If you do:

  • Do not use or eat recalled Robin Hood All Purpose Flour, Original. Secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased for a refund.
  • If you have flour without its original packaging and are unsure if it is included in the food recall, throw it out just to be safe.
  • Thoroughly wash any containers that were used to store the recalled product before using them again.
  • If you suspect you may have used recalled flour to make baked goods or a non-baked product, such as children’s play-dough, throw it out. Wash all surfaces or containers where the product may have been used or stored.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.

For general use of flour, the following tips will also help reduce your risk of becoming ill:

  • Do not taste raw dough or batter. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
  • Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
  • Always use hot water and soap to wash any bowls, utensils, or surfaces that flour was used on.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after touching flour, raw dough or batter.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have become ill from eating raw dough or batter or from consuming or handling a flour product.

People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms.  Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. Still others become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.

The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria:

  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • headache
  • little or no fever

Most symptoms clear up within five to ten days without needing to see a healthcare professional. However, some people who are infected with E. coli develop life-threatening symptoms, including kidney failure, seizures and stroke. While most individuals will recover completely, others may suffer permanent health effects, like kidney damage. Death can also result in extremely rare cases.

For more details on this affected product and the recall visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Mumps Confirmed in Cypress Health Region

April 28, 2017

We now have over 20 lab confirmed cases of mumps present in our region. Over the past five years the average number of mumps cases in Saskatchewan has been 0 to 2. Cases currently range from those under age 10 to those over age 60.

The single most important way to prevent mumps is to be immunized.

Mumps is an acute viral infection characterized by painful swelling of the glands on one or both sides of the jaw. Mumps can also affect the reproductive organs, sometimes with long term complications. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, sore throat, vomiting, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Symptoms can appear 14-25 days following the original exposure and the virus can be unknowingly transmitted to others during that time.

If you suspect your child or someone in your family has symptoms of mumps, keep them home for at least 5 days after the onset of mumps and for 9 days if symptoms continue.

To help prevent spreading mumps cover your mouth and nose when coughing, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and avoid sharing personal items such as water bottles, utensils, drinks, and lipsticks.

For more information on the mumps virus or to learn your immunization status contact your local public health office, call us toll-free at 1-866-786-2510, or visit your family physician/nurse practitioner clinic.


Positive lab results received from the National Medical Laboratory in Winnipeg have confirmed the presence of mumps within the Cypress Health Region.  The Region is currently reporting three confirmed cases and a fourth suspected case, affecting both youth and adult individuals.

Mumps activity has been reported across Canada, with a number of recently identified cases in Alberta and Manitoba including individuals within the hockey community.  The confirmed cases within Cypress Health also include individuals from the hockey community.

Mumps is an acute viral infection characterized by painful swelling of the glands on one or both sides of the jaw.  Mumps can also affect the reproductive organs sometimes with long term complications.Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, sore throat, vomiting, tiredness and loss of appetite.  Symptoms can appear 14-25 days following the original exposure and the virus can be unknowingly transmitted to others during that time.

The mumps virus can be easily spread by coughing, sneezing, or being in contact with another person’s saliva.  Transmission is more likely in crowded environments and with close contact such as classrooms, sporting events, bars, and dormitory living.

“Mumps can be quite a painful illness to go through and un-immunized cases have more severe symptoms than immunized individuals and likely with more complications,” commented Dr. Torr, Medical Health Officer for Cypress Health.  “It is key that individuals are up to date with their immunizations, most especially at this time those involved in sports, including players, coaches, volunteers, parents, and others.  A significant number of cases across the country, and locally, have been associated with sports gatherings.  We are encouraging children and adults to make sure they are up to date with their immunizations. Those born before 1970 are likely to have acquired natural immunity. Those born after 1970 should make sure that they are up to date with their immunizations, and if not, should contact public health to get up to date.”

Dr. Torr recommends a variety of measures that can help to reduce the spread of the mumps virus:

Vaccination is essential – infants and children receive protection as part of their MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) immunizations; teenagers and adults can contact their local public health office to check their immunization status and schedule an appointment for a booster if required.

  • Individuals suspected of having mumps or mump-like symptoms should stay away from childcare, school, post-secondary settings, sporting and social events, and workplaces for at least five days after onset of symptoms.
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid sharing eating utensils, water bottles, drinks, and lipsticks with others.
  • Call ahead before going to your physician, so they can prepare to see you without exposing others.

“In addition frequent hand hygiene, especially when at events or public places, not sharing eating and drinking utensils, and toys for daycares are all key measures that help reduce spread of infection. Of course, those ill with mumps symptoms should get checked by their health practitioner and stay at home whilst recovering,” Dr. Torr added.

For more information on the mumps virus and immunization status, please contact your local Public Health office, call Toll-Free at 1-866-786-2510, visit your family physician/nurse practitioner’s clinic or visit www.saskatchewan.ca and search mumps.  Please visit www.saskatchewan.ca for more mumps facts.  The provincial HealthLine can also be contacted 24 hours per day by calling 811 for any non-urgent health questions.

Buckley’s Syrups Recalled

Buckley’s syrups recalled due to potential choking hazard

Health Canada is advising Canadians that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Inc. has initiated a voluntary recall of certain Buckley’s syrup products from stores.  A defect with the plastic seal may cause it to fall into the bottle and present a potential choking hazard if swallowed.  This seal is a circular plastic layer that is clear or semi-transparent and approximately 1.7 cm in diameter.

The affected products are indicated for use by adults and children above 12 years old.  Buckley’s Jack and Jill children’s syrup is not part of the recall as it uses a different seal.

Check your home to see if you have purchased any of these recalled products. Do not drink directly from the bottle.  Pour the syrup into a teaspoon and check for the plastic seal before consuming.  Call your doctor if you have used these products and have any health concerns.

For details on these affected products and this recall visit the Healthy Canadians website.

Outbreaks in Herbert and Shaunavon Rescinded, Visitation Resumes

Update: February 16 at 9:40am

The outbreak at the Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre has been rescinded and visitation at the facility may now resume.  The outbreak previously declared at the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility has also been declared over.

While visitation at both facilities has now resumed, illnesses continue to circulate in many communities.  Anyone who is feeling ill or has signs and symptoms of an illness is asked to refrain from visiting a health facility unless to seek medical attention.  Please only visit if you are symptom free.  As well, infection control measures should continue to be practiced in homes and businesses. Frequent and proper handwashing are very important to eliminate the spreading of illnesses as well as coughing/sneezing into a tissue, sleeve, or crook of your elbow, staying home when ill, and frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

The Region thanks the general public for adhering to the visitation restrictions during the outbreak.  Thanks is also extended to staff and public health/inspection control teams for their diligence in working to rescind the outbreak as quickly as possible.


Update: February 13 at 10:25am

Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer, has rescinded the respiratory outbreak of coronavirus oc43 that has been in place at the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility.  The outbreak in Herbert was originally declared on February 7.

Visitation at the Herbert facility is no longer restricted.  Anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of an illness currently or within the last seven days is asked to refrain from visiting the facility unless to seek medical attention. It is important to continue to minimize the spread of illness into and out of the facility.

The respiratory illness outbreak in Shaunavon remains in place with two residents currently showing signs and symptoms.  Lab results are still pending to determine the illness type that is being experienced in the long term care side of the Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre.  Visiting restrictions remain in place and are limited to end of life situations only where special arrangements may be made with facility staff.

Good and thorough infection control practices should remain in place in all communities.  This includes frequent hand washing, staying home when ill, regularly cleaning commonly touched surfaces in the home and workplace, and sneezing/cough into a tissue, sleeve, or the crook of your elbow.


Update: February 9 at 4:50pm

The Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory has confirmed that the virus circulating within the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility is coronavirus OC43.

Coronaviruses are common viruses that most people get some time in their lives.  They usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses.

There are several different groupings of coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).  Coronavirus OC43 is not the same as SARS or MERS.  Coronavirus OC43 is common around the world with symptoms including runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever.

To read more about coronaviruses please visit the Centres for Disease Control website.

The illness type circulating in Shaunavon remains unknown.


Update: February 9 at 2:40pm

The Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre has been placed under outbreak status due to the presence of respiratory illness amongst several of the facilities long term care residents.  The Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility also remains under outbreak status.

Visitation restrictions have been put in place during these outbreaks to minimize illness being brought into or carried out of the facilities. Until further notice visitation is restricted to an end of life situation where the facility should be contacted to discussion the options available for family members to visit their loved one.

Please note that the outbreaks in Herbert and Shaunavon affect long-term care services only; acute and emergency services remain available at both facilities.

Respiratory viruses are contagious.  They are easily spread by coughing, sneezing, and direct contact through nasal and throat secretions.  Symptoms include fever and chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.

Immunization is an important step to protect yourself and those around you. In addition to immunization other measures to protect yourself include proper hand hygiene with warm water and soap, staying home when ill unless seeking medical attention, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve or the crook of your elbow, and frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces.  Parents with young children should wash their hands thoroughly before and after changing a diaper.  Hand sanitizers should not be used as a complete replacement for proper hand hygiene.

Read more information in the respiratory illness outbreak news release.


Original message: February 7 at 4:20pm

Under the guidance of Medical Health Officer Dr. David Torr, an outbreak has been declared at the Herbert and District Integrated Health Facility due to the presence of signs and symptoms of an unknown respiratory illness amongst the facility’s long term care residents.

This outbreak affects the long-term care side of the facility only.  All acute/emergency services are still available at the facility.

Due to this declaration, please consider the following:

  • Until further notice, visitation to the facility will be restricted.  The only exceptions to these restrictions will be in the event of an ‘end of life’ situation, where the nurse in charge at the facility can be contacted to discuss the options that are available for the family members to visit their loved one.
  • Outbreak has been declared due to the presence of an unconfirmed respiratory illness.  Samples are being forwarded to the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory in Regina for analysis and confirmation of the illness type.
  • Presently, there are 5 long term care residents within the facility who have been identified as meeting the signs and symptoms of this illness.
  • Enhanced cleaning and infection control protocols have been implemented within the facility in an attempt to remove the illness.

Public Health and Infection Control Team members are actively involved and are providing guidance into the ongoing steps being taken to eradicate the illness.  The Health Region is strongly emphasizing that individuals in all communities do what they can to prevent the spread of illness/sickness to others.  Frequent and proper handwashing, staying home when ill, and enhanced cleaning of hard surfaces within your homes/businesses should always be the normal practice.

Respiratory infections are infections of the respiratory tract, including upper (head and chest) and lower (lungs).  Symptoms of respiratory illnesses include congestion, cough, runny nose, sore throat, facial pressure, sneezing, watery eyes, ear congestion, fatigues, headache, shortness of breath, malaise, and high fever. Symptoms usually begin 1-3 days after exposure and usually end within 7-10 days of onset. Read more about Respiratory Illnesses.

Updates and additional information regarding this outbreak will be posted as they become available.

PC Organics Brand Baby Food Pouches Recalled

PC Organics brand baby food pouches recalled due to potential presence of dangerous bacteria

The Canada Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning on PC Organics brand baby food pouches due to potential presence of dangerous bacteria.  Loblaw Companies Limited is recalling PC Organics brand baby food pouches from the marketplace, including those sold in Saskatchewan, because they may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. A manufacturing error resulted in excess water in the product, which under certain circumstances could support the growth of Clostridium Botulinum and pose a health risk to consumers.

The recall was triggered by a consumer complaint and there have been reported illnesses that may be associated with the consumption of these products.

Food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred or double vision, dry mouth, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check your home to see if you have purchased any of these recalled products. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

For details on affected products and this recall visit the Healthy Canadians website. To learn more about food poisoning visit the Canada Food Inspection Agency website.

Boil Water Advisory Issued in Burstall

Update: February 6, 2017 at 8:25am

The emergency boil water advisory in the Town of Burstall has been removed.  Subsequent repeat water samples on February 1 and 2 indicated that bacteria levels are within acceptable levels.

It is now safe to resume consumption of water from the Town of Burstall’s public water supply.


Original message: February 1, 2017 at 1:30pm

A boil water advisory has been activated in the Town of Burstall.

The Cypress Health Region has learned that a water sample tested positive for E.coli in the Town’s public water supply.  Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer, has thus issued an emergency boil water order to the Town and its residents.

Residents who access Burstall’s public water supply are to discontinue the use of this water without first boiling it for at least one minute at a rolling boil.

This emergency boil water order remains in effect until safe water is evidenced.

Boil water advisory detail

Users of the Town of Burstall’s water supply are notified to:

  • boil all water, used for drinking purposes, for at least one (1) minute, at a rolling boil, prior to use;
  • boil water to be used for other activities where it may be ingested, including:
    • brushing teeth or soaking false teeth;
    • washing fruits and vegetables;
    • food or drink which will not be subsequently heated; and
    • ice cubes;
  • not drink from any public drinking fountains supplied with water from the public water supply;
  • under most circumstances, there is not a need to boil water used for other household purposes. Adults, adolescents, and older children may shower, bathe, or wash using tap water but should avoid swallowing the water.
  • ensure that younger children and infants are sponge bathed;
  • use an alternative water source known to be safe, if they do not wish to boil the water; and
  • consult with your physician if you experience any vomiting, diarrhea, or other enteric type symptoms. Also if you have cuts or rashes that are severe before using the water.

In addition to the above, all dishes and utensils should be soaked in a bleach water solution (approximately 2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon or 10 ml of bleach per liter of water) for at least two minutes after being washed to kill any bacteria which may be present.

About E.coli

Escherichia coli, usually called E. coli, refers to a large group of bacteria that is commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. E.coli can make people sick, causing severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.   Serious complications of an E.coli infection can include kidney failure. Most individuals with E.coli fully recover within 5 to 10 days. The very young and elderly are at greater risk of severe symptoms.

Generally, the disease must run its course. Treatment for those infected with E. coli includes drinking plenty of liquids to replace the body fluids lost through diarrhea and vomiting, and to avoid dehydration. The most helpful fluids for protecting against dehydration are oral rehydration fluids. These products are sold as pre-mixed fluids and are commonly found in drug stores. Other drinks that do not contain caffeine or alcohol can also help with mild dehydration; however, these drinks may not replace the nutrients and minerals lost during illness.

Young children, the elderly and people with other illnesses are at greatest risk for dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include a decrease in urination, a dry mouth, and throat and dizziness upon standing. A dehydrated child may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy. Severe dehydration can be serious and the ill person may require re-hydration in a hospital. If you think you or someone under your care is dehydrated, contact your healthcare provider.

Antibiotics are not used to treat the illness, as they may increase the risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome.

To read more about boil water advisories issued through the Public Health department please visit our water quality page.

Warning W-18 – A New Illegal Synthetic Street Drug Discovered

Morphine and fentanyl are opioid pain medications. Fentanyl, which is 50 – 100 times more potent than morphine, has been in headlines due to improper use, as well as being made and sold illegally. Now W-18, a new illegal synthetic street drug that was recently discovered in Kerrobert, SK, has been reported to be as much as 10,000 times more active (powerful) than morphine.

Drugs of this potency require extreme caution, both for the public and for health providers who may treat a patient suspected of W-18 use.  W-18 is believed to be so powerful that it poses a threat to someone who may simply handle or come in contact with it without wearing proper protection. Steps have been taken in Saskatchewan to notify physicians, emergency room staff, and other healthcare professionals about the dangers of coming into contact with this synthetic chemical.

W-18 is new and is not yet well known. There is a current lack of data about its toxicity and effects. W-18 was initially developed for its pain killing potential, however there are no published studies or case reports regarding legitimate uses for W-18.

Please be careful.  Do not engage with any illicit drug activity.

To access local support for mental health and addictions please call our intake team at 1-877-329-0005 or visit https://cypresshealth.ca/programs-services/mental-health-addiction-services/.   For more information on alcohol and drug use please visit https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/accessing-health-care-services/mental-health-and-addictions-support-services.

 

Incident at Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre Regarding Strange Odours Now Resolved

Updated: December 14, 2016 at 4:35pm

After careful investigation it has been determined that plugged sewer vent stacks, which were blocked with ice due to build-up from the recent cold weather, were the sole cause of today’s incident at the Shaunavon Hospital.

Crews are still on site removing the blockages and making minor repairs. The emergency operations centre (EOC) is being revoked and the facility will return to normal operations as of 5:00pm with the re-opening of the acute care and primary health care areas.

We would like to extend our thanks to our staff and supporting businesses who worked on and resolved this incident promptly. We also extend our appreciation to residents of Shaunavon and surrounding areas for the patience that was shown and also for helping to share the message with others.


Updated: December 14, 2016 at 2:30pm

Earlier today we announced that a situation had arisen at the Shaunavon Hospital in which strange and strong odours were detected in the acute and primary health care areas.  After Sask Energy determined that this was not a natural gas leak our staff conducted thorough investigations and concluded that these odours were likely being caused by venting stacks that were blocked on the rooftop due to ice buildup related to the recent stretch of cold weather.  The venting stacks, which were not able to adequately pass ventilating sewer gas, were thus releasing these sewer odours back into the facility.

Upon learning of this a steam truck was immediately hired and on site to clear the ice blockages.  We do not believe that there is any imminent threat to the facility’s acute care wing and are optimistic that this will be fully resolved before the end of the day. We will continue to utilize our emergency operations centre (EOC) protocols until we are confident that we are completely clear of this incident.

Emergency services are still available at the facility and, as a further precaution, are being directed through the long term care wing.  Should you have a medical emergency in the Shaunavon area please go to the Shaunavon Hospital and access emergency services through the facility’s long term care door.  Signage is posted at the facility to indicate this.

Further updates will be posted as they become available.


Updated: December 14, 2016 at 9:55am.

We are aware of a situation at the Shaunavon Hospital today regarding a strong odour coming from the acute care and primary health care clinic areas.

The emergency department at the Shaunavon Hospital remains open but is being temporarily relocated to the long term care side of the building.  If you have an emergency please go to the Shaunavon Hospital and enter through the long term care door.  Emergency Medical Services (ambulance) are being redirected to Swift Current.

Sask Energy has been on site and there is no indication of a gas leak. The fire department is also on scene and are indicating that the odor is coming from the basement directly below the acute care area.  They are working to determine the definitive source of the odor.

Our appropriate staff are being deployed to the facility and we have established our emergency operations centre as a precautionary measure to ensure all necessary resources are available.

We will continue to provide updates as we learn more.