Health experts ready to fight outbreaks - Metro US

Health experts ready to fight outbreaks

If another listeriosis outbreak were to hit today, health officials say they’d handle it exactly the same way.

Health promotion and protection staff told the public accounts committee yesterday that they’ve got everything they need to fight outbreaks.

“If a similar event occurred today, we would take exactly the same steps,” said Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief public health officer.

“I’m very comfortable with our experience and our knowledge and our capacity to deal with infectious disease outbreaks.”

Last year, 20 people died from a listeriosis outbreak linked to Maple Leaf Foods. However, no one was known to be effected in Nova Scotia and health promotion officials were sending out warnings within a day of it being discovered.

But one thing they do think would help is streamlining the federal and provincial systems. Some facilities in the province fall under federal jurisdiction, while the rest are inspected by the province.

Mike Horwich, the province’s director of food inspection, says bringing the two together would make the system more efficient.

“There’s a significant movement to establish a Canadian food-inspection system. The federal jurisdiction, provincial jurisdictions and territorial jurisdictions are all looking at harmonizing standards,” he said.

“The idea is we’re all Canadians, we should all benefit from the same level of food safety.”

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