Toronto Public Health
The goal of the Health Professionals website is to provide you with timely, accurate, and relevant local public health information. Resources are primarily targeted at physicians and infection control practitioners practising in Toronto.
News and Announcements
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has issued a travel notice recommending that pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant discuss travel plans with their health care provider to assess their risk and consider postponing travel to areas where the Zika virus is circulating. More information about Zika virus, including testing indications.
Several raccoons have recently tested positive for rabies in the City of Hamilton and Haldimand County. While the risk to the general public remains low, all patients with a bite or other exposure to raccoons, bats and other animals should be assessed for the need for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). More information about rabies and animal bites/exposures.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is working with federal, provincial and health system partners to support Syrian refugee resettlement in Ontario
What Toronto health care providers need to know:
1. Clinics have been established in Toronto to provide comprehensive medical services to newly arrived Syrian refugees. More information, including clinic dates and locations.
2. There are a variety of services available to help connect Syrian refugees with the health care they need. More information including contact info for Medavie Blue Cross (Interim Federal Health Plan), and various helplines.
3. The multi-lingual Refugee HealthLine (1-866-286-4770 (toll-free)) has been established to connect refugees to health care providers for transitional health care and services.
4. Providers who have come forward to provide care to refugees should be encouraged to contact the Refugee HealthLine (1-866-286-4770 (toll-free)) as soon as possible to register their availability.
Resources for Health Care Providers:
• College of Family Physicians of Canada – Refugee Health Care Resource
• CMAJ guidelines "Caring for a Newly Arrived Syrian Refugee Family"
The Ministry has updated the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule to reflect the new and enhanced immunization programs.
Influenza activity generally occurs in the late fall and winter months.
As of October 20, 2015, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has received reports of nine laboratory-confirmed influenza cases since September 10, 2015.
For more information regarding the year's flu season, including vaccine details, visit the Influenza page for health professionals.
- The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and Public Health Ontario continue to monitor the risk posed by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
- MOHLTC has updated its "persons of interest" case definition to remove the Republic of Korea as no new cases have been reported since July 4, 2015.
- Recent reports from the World Health Organization have identified a growing number of MERS-CoV cases in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Most of these cases are associated with an outbreak occurring in a hospital in Riyadh city.
- Physicians should continue to be alert for patients presenting with signs and symptoms consistent with acute respiratory infections (ARIs).
For more information:
Clinicians should be reminded that although the risk is extremely low Ebola virus disease (EVD) should be considered in the differential diagnosis of febrile persons who have returned from endemic regions or specific local areas of Ebola-affected countries as identified by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
For the most up to date information on infection prevention and control, lab testing and initial assessment and management of the returning traveller visit the PHO EVD webpage.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) has set up an Ebola Information Line for Health Care Professionals at 416-392-5311. The line is staffed during regular business hours Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. After hours, please call 311 and your call will be redirected to the After-hours Manager.
A recent case of lead toxicity in Ontario has been linked to the use of an Ayurvedic medicinal product purchased online. Health Canada posted a related alert regarding Ayurvedic products with high levels of lead, arsenic, and mercury.
Toronto Public Health recently investigated elevated blood lead levels in a group of family members. Spices (turmeric, red chili powder, coriander) brought over from Bangladesh by the family (un-labelled bags ground and purchased at a market) were identified as the likely source of the elevated blood lead levels.
Although exposure to lead among Canadians has declined significantly over the past few decades, health professionals are reminded that imported consumer products may be a source of lead and other heavy metals.
Important information for health professionals:
- Health professionals should consider testing BLLs in patients who are symptomatic (e.g. abdominal pain, anemia, tremor), and screening in children at risk (see Rourke Baby Record).
- Blood lead levels (BLL) <10 ug/dL can have harmful effects on cognitive, cardiovascular, immunological and endocrine function.
- At BLLs >10 ug/dL, the exposure source (such as imported consumer products) should be identified and removed, and BLLs repeated within 3 months.
- Higher BLLs (>20 ug/dL) should prompt specialist referral for further assessment.
- For further assistance with investigating potential sources of lead exposure where BLLs are >10 ug/dL, contact TPH at 416-338-7600.
- Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules for Ontario
- Bed Bugs
- Breastfeeding E-Learning Modules
- Cancer Prevention and Screening
- Enteric Outbreak Management
- Grade 7 & 8 Immunization and Vaccines
- Harm Reduction Services
- Rabies and Animal Bites/Exposures
- Respiratory Outbreak Management
- Vaccine Storage and Handling