Toronto Public Health is concerned about a new, undiagnosed strain of viral pneumonia that has popped up in China. There have been around 59 confirmed cases so far, and health officials are monitoring it diligently. The viral pneumonia in China poses little threat to Canada so far, but because Toronto's Pearson airport is such an international hub, officials are on the alert. 

The pneumonia popped up in the city of Wuhan, and it is associated with a local live seafood market, according to the news release

This health issue is still in the early stages of discovery, and there have been no reported deaths so far. 

According to the Toronto Star, this is sparking a bit of a scare that is reminding people of SARS, which did manage to spread to Canada. 

In Toronto, 44 people died due to SARS, and it took the life of 700 people in mainland China that year. The SARS epidemic also broke out in a food market that sold animals, just like the one in Wuhan.

The similarities with the 2002 epidemic are the reason health officials are being so diligent about monitoring this new pneumonia strain. 

So far, though, it looks like Canada is in the clear. The Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan has since been shut down so it could be sanitized and disinfected, according to the World Health Organization.

Still, health officials at the city, provincial, and federal levels are all keeping their eyes peeled. 

"At this point, while there are no cases of this illness reported in Toronto, the City has a well-developed response plan should the situation change," said Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa in the online statement. 

Although the risk to residents in Canada at this time is very low, officials are remaining cautious.

After all, it is flu season in Canada, and it was also just an extremely busy time for travel because of the holidays. The flu can turn into pneumonia if it gets really bad. 

Influenza can also be transferred before symptoms even appear, and with all the travelling people have been doing, it is possible that this undiagnosed strain of pneumonia could reach Canada. 

If you have recently travelled and came home to realize that you contracted a respiratory illness, you need to alert your doctor immediately. You can also go to an emergency room if you can't get an appointment right away. 

Health officers in Wuhan have described symptoms of the pneumonia, which include fever and shortness of breath, according to CTV News

In a small number of cases, people have gone on to develop lung infections.

Remember to take all the usual precautions you can during this season so as to not get sick. 

Get the flu shot, wash your hands a lot, and cover your mouth if you're coughing or sneezing up a storm. 


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


 

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