A scary virus that impacts humans has been found and spread across a Canadian province. According to sources, a tapeworm found in Alberta has spread through wildlife in the province, and it causes fatal tumours in people. Here’s what we know.
A European strain of a tapeworm that can make people seriously ill is now being seen in wildlife all over Alberta. In a study conducted but the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine, this parasitic tapeworm called Echinococcus multilocularis was found in Western Canada in 2012.
According to CBC News, the first case of the tumour-like disease caused by the tapeworm, human alveolar echinococcosis (AE), was diagnosed in 2013. Since then, this invasive virus strain has spread throughout the entire province.
One of the studies researchers told CBC News that her lab has DNA samples from almost all of the 14 people in Canada who have been diagnosed to date with the fatal parasite.
For humans, this is a very serious condition as it can go unnoticed in a person for years. Later, a human can experience tumour-like lesions from the tapeworm on your liver.
Dr. Claudia Klein, one of the study’s researchers, told CBC News that the mortality in humans is 90% if it goes undiscovered and untreated. Klein has stated that her lab is finding this terrifying strain of tapeworm when examining coyote feces and rodent livers.
According to CBC News, it is believed the strain first arrived in Canada in dogs brought over from Europe. This tapeworm is not limited to wildlife as dogs and cats are also susceptible should they come into contact with an infected rodent or feces.
Hunters, trappers, and veterinarians are at a higher risk of contracting the tapeworm. That being said, anyone can protect themselves by washing your hands after picking up animal waste. Should you find yourself with an infection, anti-parasitic medication should do the trick.
Earlier this year, another scary virus also broke out in Richmond. This norovirus resulted in two hotel closures after 80 people became sick.
A super rare tick that causes a permanent meat allergy in humans was also discovered this summer in two different Canadian provinces - Manitoba and Ontario.