Toronto Public Health confirms first three cases of Omicron variant in city
By: Laura Zuckerman
October 10, 2014
New Brunswick, Canada, October 6, 2014 — Toronto Public Health is now reporting three more cases of a rare variant of the Omicron gene in the city (see attached pictures), bringing the total number of positive Omicron variant cases in Toronto, and across Canada, to five.
In total, 16 Toronto residents are being evaluated for the condition that affects their bodies. Omicron variant is characterized by a gene mutation and results in a small amount of red blood cells being produced, and this increases the risk for blood diseases like sickle cell anemia.
It’s not yet clear what this specific mutation is, which, at this point, scientists think it may be linked to either rare hemoglobin variants or the ABO system, but they’re investigating.
The first two cases, discovered last month, are a mom and daughter, and another woman, who has not yet been identified. They all live in the Toronto area, and have not been in contact with any other cases in their family.
In addition, two other cases — one a mom and one a dad — in the province of New Brunswick have been identified in the past week, bringing the provincial total to four positive Omicron variant cases.
The Ontario Ministry of Health has also announced a public health alert is now in place for people in Ontario who test positive for Omicron variant, and who may have been exposed through any of their close contacts.
The public health alert is to inform any people who may have been exposed and to encourage them to get tested.
On the Omicron variant front, Toronto Public Health says, this is the second Omicron variant case in Toronto; there’s one in the province of New Brunswick, and two in Alberta. All of the cases are in the Toronto area.
Toronto Public Health says the Omicron variant is rare; it can occur within families, and not be linked to other genetic mutations, which raises questions about whether there’s a common factor leading to this condition and/or a shared genetic element.
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