Board of Health Meeting Highlights for November 2, 2016

November 16, 2016

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is governed by a Board of Health consisting of provincially appointed elected representatives and community members.
On November 2, Board of Health discussions included:

Medical Officer of Health Update

Dr. Mercer updated the BOH on proposed changes to Health Canada’s regulation of cosmetics, natural health products and non-prescription drugs. Low-risk products (cosmetics, vitamins, toothpaste etc.) cannot make any health claims and would not be licensed by Health Canada. Moderate risk products (topical pain relievers, cough and cold products etc.) would be licensed based on scientific claims proving the safety, efficacy and quality of the product in question. Higher-risk products (prescription and non-prescription drugs) would receive a full scientific review by Health Canada. These changes will allow consumers to make better informed choices.

Fluoride Varnish Program expansion proposal

Fluoride varnish is recognized as safe and effective for reducing the risk of tooth decay. Public Health currently provides fluoride varnish applications to students in seven elementary schools selected because a high proportion of children were identified with urgent dental needs. In Ontario, from 2010-2012, there were 9,610 day surgeries performed due to early childhood tooth decay with an estimated hospital cost of $13 million. Dental decay can lead to pain, infection, abscesses and in serious cases can damage a child’s self-esteem and affect school performance. The Board accepted this report and is considering the recommendation to expand the fluoride varnish program to five new schools.
Rabies has re-emerged in Ontario: The rabies virus has re-emerged in the Ontario wildlife population. As of October 18, 2016, a total of 217 raccoons and skunks have tested positive for the raccoon rabies strain – the majority from the Hamilton area. Public Health is responsible for the management and investigation of suspected human rabies exposures by quarantining expected animals and providing the rabies vaccine to individuals needing it. In humans once clinical signs of rabies appear the disease is almost always fatal. Public is contributing its role to a plan involving community partners and government agencies to: reduce the potential for entry of more raccoon rabies into Ontario (prevention and detection); slow its spread beyond any initial outbreak (control); inform the public and the various agencies to take appropriate action (education and communication).
Wellington County hosts successful International Plowing Match (IPM): The IPM received approximately 97,000 visitors. Public Health’s role was to respond to potential public health issues. Public Health staff provided 136 inspections/re-inspections of food vendors; daily testing of 18 water-sampling sites including the monitoring of lab reports and sampling procedures; active surveillance for enteric illness and animal bite incidents through daily onsite updates with emergency medical services. No incidents were reported over entire event.