Quebec offers HPV vaccine to boysDec142015

The [Quebec] provincial government is changing a seven-year-old policy and will begin offering HPV vaccines without charge to young men.

Starting in January 2016, men aged 26 and under who have sexual relations with other men will be eligible to get the vaccine against the human papilloma virus.

Next school year, in September 2016, boys in grade 4 will also be offered the HPV vaccine. Parents of those aged 13 and under need to give their consent before a child is vaccinated.

Read the full article on


At the same time, concerns over the safety of Gardisil have been growing among the public in Europe, after more than 100 young women in Ireland reported side effects after receiving the vaccine. 


However, Health Canada says a review of international research data suggests the HPV vaccine Gardasil can be safely used and there are no new safety risks associated with its use.


Possible TB exposure in U.S. hospitalDec142015

Tuberculosis 18138_smOver 1,000 people, including 350 infants, may have been exposed to tuberculosis in the maternity wing of a hospital in California after an active case of the disease was diagnosed in a nurse, hospital officials said on Sunday.

The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, Calif., said it was notified in mid-November that an employee who worked “in the area of the newborn nursery” had been given the diagnosis, with the potential to infect hospital staff and patients, including the newborns. The potential exposure occurred between August and November, it said.

Hospital officials said that as many as 1,026 people may have been exposed to the disease: 350 infants, 308 employees and 368 parents, primarily mothers. Hospital officials said they had identified all patients, staff members and visitors who might have been exposed, and were contacting each one.

Read the full story on The New York Times website


Healthcare Year In Review by the Globe and MailDec142015


It takes major news to tilt conventional wisdom off its axis – and this year had its share of blockbusters:

  • Supreme Court of Canada rules on physician-assisted suicide
  • Dairy and red meat take heat
  • Genes are tweaked
  • Overhaul sought for Home-care
  • The brain’s blood-brain barrier is breeched
  • The anti-vaccination movement loses steam
  • Germs get their due
  • Autism gets reimagined
  • Fairy-tale romance gets a reality check
  • We stand up to sitting
  • Infants nibble solid food earlier 

Read the full article on The Globe and Mail website.


OXA-48 strain of CPO in the newsDec092015

Several stories have been circulating in the U.S. press around a strain of CPO that the media has dubbed “The Phantom Menace”. The stories refer to this report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on December 4, 2015. The main summary points of the report are:

  • Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae 16803_loresThe plasmid containing OXA-48-like genes has high transfer efficiency, and the OXA-48 gene is more difficult to identify.
  • CDC has modified their surveillance definition from Jan 2015, which should improve sensitivity for detecting OXA-48.
  • They are reporting aggregated numbers from 2010-2015, so we can’t see yet if the testing is showing more cases.
  • Only 52 cases were identified from 19 states (not all states send their isolates to the CDC for testing)

You can read the full CDC report here.