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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Public health in the news; Legionella, ATVs, vaccines and autism, Oxycotin, radon

Leading the headlines is an outbreak of Legionella disease from an unknown source in Quebec City.  At least 3 deaths and 40 illnesses so far have been reported.   Legionella is often airborne spread but associated with water systems and humid environments such as humidifying and air conditioning systems.  Legionella in Quebec City  Montreal Gazette coverage. As of August 27th 8 deaths and 104 illnesses. 

Only a few provinces have moved forward on requiring helmets and licensing for off-road vehicles.  It was disheartening to learn of the personal tragedy of a public health icon in Canada.  Dr. David Swann who put his career on the line for supporting greenhouse gas emissions, was fired as a Medical Officer of Health and subsequently went on to run for, and remained in the Alberta opposition, including a stint as leader of the opposition.  Dr. Swann recently lost his nephew in an off-road ATV incident.  Calgary Herald and ATV death  How many more tragedies do we count before off-road vehicles are treated as the dangerous machines that they can be?

Anyone who follows vaccines closely will be familiar with the notorious Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  In essence a lobbyist for the parents of autistic children who believed that the autism was caused by the MMR vaccine.  Fifteen years later, hundreds of millions of dollars in scientific studies, innumerable expert panels, and the myth persists as proof it is harder to disprove something that to enshrine something as fact.   Wakefield recently lost a libel action against the BMJ http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e5328 .  The action was lost on a legal point, the court had no jurisdiction over the British defendants.  It has resulted in resurfacing the myth and resurrection of the controversy.

This site has spoken several times to the negative consequences of the switch from Oxycotin with minimal supports in place DrPHealth February 2012 .  Sure enough, more evidence of destructive consequences of the ill planned change comes in evidence of migration to heroine in several communities Oxycotin replaced by heroin

Health Canada is pushing the radon issue again, and thankfully as it does not reach the radars of many Canadians.  With reduced tobacco use, radon has inched its way up to claim 16% of the lung cancer market .  radon and lung cancer 

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