PICNet welcomes Linda HoangSep102015

Dr. Linda Hoang has joined PICNet as Medical Co-Lead, following the retirement of Dr. Judy Isaac-Renton. This medical leadership position is a shared position with Dr. Elizabeth Bryce to lead and deliver the strategic goals of PICNet.

Linda is the Program Head of the Public Health Advanced Bacteriology & Mycology for the  BC Public Health Microbiology & Reference Laboratory, which is part of the BC Centre for Disease Control. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UBC.

Dr. Hoang received her Master’s and Medical Degrees from UBC and is FRCPC qualified in Medical Microbiology (UBC). She also obtained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Epidemiology, UK. She enjoys teaching and is the BCCDC site-supervisor for the UBC Medical Microbiology Residency Training Program. 

Linda has been actively participating in PICNet projects for many years, especially as part of the Surveillance Steering Committee, and has led the implementation of the Surveillance Protocol for Carbapenemase Producing Organisms (CPO) in British Columbia. We hope you will join us in welcoming her into her new leadership position.



Dr. Linda Hoang


Dr. Elizabeth Bryce

Happy Retirement to Judy Isaac-Renton

We would also like to thank Dr. Judy Isaac-Renton for her ten years of contribution to PICNet. Judy was instrumental in bringing PICNet into existence. Her public health lens brought a balance to the network’s strategic direction, and her leadership helped navigate PICNet through many challenges. We thank her for her hard work and dedication during PICNet’s first decade, and wish her all the best for her retirement.

Dr. Judy Isaac-Renton


MERS-CoV Update: new outbreak in Saudi ArabiaAug272015

New cases Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in Saudi Arabia. Four more deaths were announced, bringing the number of deaths in the past week to 17. The World Health Organization (WHO) says many of the recent cases are associated with an outbreak at a hospital in Riyadh.

Several other countries have also reported MERS-CoV cases in individuals who have travelled to the Middle East, including France, Italy, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). These individuals acquired the disease through limited local transmission among close contacts, including health care workers. The outbreak in South Korea, which began in May, was the largest outbreak of MERS-CoV outside the Middle East. It has now been brought under control, with no new cases reported since July 4, 2015.

The risk to Canadians is low. This virus does not spread easily from person to person, and the risk of exposure is primarily in the affected Middle Eastern countries.

The current understanding of MERS-CoV is that it has entered the human population from direct or indirect contact with infected camels or camel-related products (e.g. raw camel milk). In situations where it has appeared to have spread between people, those cases involved close contact with MERS-Cov infected individuals including family members, fellow patients and healthcare workers, indicating the importance of following strict infection control practices in health care settings.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a great deal of MERS information on their website; you can also read updates relevant to Canada on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

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CDC article on Coordinated Approach to Reduce AROs in Healthcare FacilitiesAug052015

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published an article on the Estimated Effects of a Coordinated Approach for Action to Reduce Antibiotic-Resistant Infections in Health Care Facilities. The findings estimate that with effective nationwide action now, more than half a million antibiotic-resistant health care–associated infections could be prevented over 5 years. Read the full article here: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, August 4, 2015

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Breakthrough announced in MRSA testingJul272015

Micro Imaging Technology, Inc.announced that, through its collaboration with Northern Michigan University (NMU), it has developed a testing protocol that allows for detection of pathogen species from liquid cultures. Dr. Josh S. Sharp, Ph.D., assistant professor at the NMU Department of Biology in Marquette, Michigan, is researching clinical applications of the MIT 1000 System, particularly the pathogens Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Methicillin Resistant S. aureus (MRSA).

According to MIT, it has developed and patented the MIT 1000, a stand-alone, rapid, optically-based, software driven system that can identify pathogenic bacteria and complete an identification test, after culturing, in three minutes (average) at the lowest cost per test over any other conventional method. It does not rely on chemical or biological agents, conventional processing, fluorescent tags, gas chromatography or DNA analysis. It requires clean filtered water and a sample of the unknown bacteria.

Read the full article on the Canadian Business Journal website.

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