This story might give you a sense of déjà vu you’d rather not experience.
Scientists are struggling to account for a mysterious cluster of an unidentified neurological disease in New Brunswick, Canada.
As of Friday, at least 47 people were recorded to have been affected by the mysterious illness, which causes rapid-onset dementia, muscle spasms, and atrophy, according to the Canadian Press.
Six victims had died, the agency reported.
The New Brunswick Health Department launched a website last week to update the public on its efforts to combat and identify the disease, according to the Canadian Press.
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Health department spokesman Bruce Macfarlane described the disease as “a neurological syndrome of unknown cause,” the Canadian Broadcast Corp. reported Friday.
“At this time, the investigation is active and ongoing to determine if there are similarities among the reported cases that can identify potential causes for this syndrome, and to help identify possible strategies for prevention,” Macfarlane told the CBC.
Macfarlane also said that the team is looking into “all potential causes including food, environmental and animal exposures.”
Most of the recorded cases occurred in people living in Moncton and the Acadian Peninsula in the northeast portion of the province, which itself borders the American state of Maine.
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“However, it is unknown at this stage of our investigation whether geographic area is linked to the neurological condition and related symptoms,” Macfarlane told the CBC.
While the disease was first observed in 2015, according to the CBC, this recent cluster was first reported on March 5 when Radio-Canada obtained a memo from the Public Health Agency of Canada that noted that 43 individuals had been identified with it and five of them had died, the CBC reported.
Some of the victims’ families have called for the government to provide more transparency about what’s known of what happened to their loved ones, according to the news network.
Addressing this “confusion and concern” was the motivation for the newly launched website.
On Thursday, the Canadian Press reported, the Horizon Health Network opened the Special Neurodegenerative Disorder Clinic to treat patients and expects to see between 16 and 20 a week.
Reading about the outbreak of a mysterious virus in Wuhan, China, less than two years ago was chilling enough on its own. After the past 13 months of death and disruption inside the United States thanks to COVID, we should definitely be paying very wary attention to reports of a mysterious neurological illness that scientists can’t yet explain just north of our own border.
There is no indication in the Canadian news reports that the disease is contagious. However, the disastrous impact of the coronavirus pandemic should make all Americans aware of how dangerous diseases that develop abroad can be.
This outbreak isn’t far from our own border — what have we learned about international travel and how diseases spread?
How long were flights leaving China and entering the U.S. while an outbreak that was so quickly to be declared this historic pandemic raged on?
This Canadian disease of unknown origin is causing onset dementia, spasms, atrophy and, apparently, even death. Six out of 47 is a pretty high death rate, and these symptoms are very serious.
We shut down the global economy due to the pandemic, yet under President Joe Biden, illegal immigrants aren’t even being tested for the coronavirus that he’s vowed to completely eradicate from our nation.
If the New Brunswick illness turns out to be contagious, what could we even expect from the new, feckless administration as far as border security or sensible disease mitigation based on its track record so far?
Gosh, that’s a chilling thought.
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