Board of Health highlights for March 2017

March 6, 2017

Public Health is governed by a Board of Health consisting of provincially appointed local municipal councillors, mayors and community members and is mandated to support the well-being of individuals and communities.

Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO, shared:

School Suspensions

Public Health (PH) assesses whether students are fully immunized or they face suspension from school.  Currently, 3524 high school students and 2561 elementary students remain on the suspension list. Suspensions begin in March and April. PH is working with school boards and providing catch-up clinics in high schools and at our offices.


Two lab-confirmed cases at the U of G. PH is working with the university and local schools to contain any outbreaks.

Carfentanil reported in Cambridge

Past trends indicate it takes about a year to show up here from Waterloo Region. March 8th PH nurses will be trained to provide naloxone to people who know individuals in danger of overdose. March 24th Guelph Wellington Drug Strategy is hosting an event to provide Opiate/Fentanyl training for front line-service providers.


Local flu activity is down from the widespread activity which peaked earlier this year. A Canadian study in Eurosurveillance 2017 states that this year’s vaccine will reduce infections and health care visits by almost 50%. PH worked closely with 22 long-term care facilities on flu outbreaks providing case management and prevention support.

Life Lab inspections

All Life Labs in Dufferin and Wellington counties were inspected and labs were found not to be in compliance with several minimum infection control practices. None put the public in immediate risk. PH worked with local labs to ensure all infection control standards were being followed (hand washing, changing gloves after each use, not reusing tourniquets). Life Labs are now in compliance.

Rabies awareness

Raccoon rabies has re-emerged in the Hamilton area meaning it could be found in Wellington and Dufferin counties in the near future. PH is launching a campaign about who to contact regarding animal bites and unusual animal behavior. Physicians, hospitals, police and vets will receive information about reporting animal bites and treating patients who may have been exposed to rabies. Pet owners will be reminded about the importance of vaccinating their pets.

Emerging virus

Seoul virus is a rodent-borne virus and there are potential exposures in 16 U.S. states. Ontario has 3 confirmed human cases linked to ratteries in the U.S. PH is providing blood tests and education on prevention to concerned rat owners/handlers/ breeders. PH is advising local physicians and veterinarians.