June 23, 2016 – Itchy Rash Caused By Larvae Found in Shallow Waters Where Snails Abound

Peterborough Public Health reminds local residents to avoid swimming in areas where snails thrive to prevent exposure to larvae which cause “Swimmer’s Itch”.

Swimmer’s Itch is often described as an itchy rash that swimmers develop after swimming in lakes and rivers.  It is caused by tiny larvae in the water that can come from snails and birds.  When swimmers emerge from the lake, the larvae are present on their wet skin.  As the water evaporates, the larvae attempt to burrow into the skin, creating an itchy rash, which may develop into small reddish pimples or blisters.  Swimmer’s Itch is not contagious, and the larvae cannot live in the swimmer’s skin.  Itchiness may last up to a week or more.  Affected persons should not scratch the rash, as secondary infections may develop.

To reduce or avoid the development of Swimmer’s Itch:

  • Towel off briskly and thoroughly immediately after swimming
  • Do not swim or wade in shallow areas where snails are commonly found
  • Do not attract water birds by feeding them near swimming areas
  • Do not swim in areas where Swimmer’s Itch is a known problem

Many factors must be present for Swimmer’s Itch to become a problem in water.  Since these factors change (sometimes within a few days) the larvae responsible for Swimmer’s Itch will not always be present. For more information, visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and click on “My Home & Environment” under “Beach Testing”.

Peterborough Public Health does not test beach water for these larvae, and therefore cannot post signage warning bathers of areas where Swimmer’s Itch may occur.


For further information, please contact:
Atul Jain
Manager, Environmental Health Programs
705-743-1000, ext. 259

June 21, 2016 – Know the Risks and How to Protect Yourself

Screen Shot 06-21-16 at 08.37 AMPeterborough Public Health is advising local residents to report and protect themselves from blue-green algae which may bloom on area lakes.

Peterborough Public Health (PPH), with the assistance of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, will follow up on blue-green algae blooms reported in lakes in Peterborough County and City area, and around Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations. To date, no reports have been received of the presence or confirmation of blue-green algae this season.

“Residents should visit our website or call us for information about what to look for before swimming or consuming water if they suspect a bloom in their area,” said Atul Jain, Manager of Environmental Health Programs at PPH. “Just as we have all learned how to avoid poison ivy and sunburns, it’s important to know how to protect ourselves from blue-green algae so everyone can still safely enjoy the outdoors.”

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria, called cyanobacteria that are known for rapidly reproducing and collecting to form large, highly visible blooms throughout the water column, on the surface of water as a scum, or on the lake bottom as a mat.  These blooms are not only unsightly and smelly: some species of cyanobacteria can also release poisons, called cyanobacterial toxins, when the cells that make up the bloom rupture or die. To report a blue-green algae bloom, residents are advised to contact the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change at 1-800-268-6060.

The risk to humans is primarily from drinking water that has been contaminated with toxins from a dense algae bloom.  Fortunately, there have been no human deaths attributed to drinking water containing cyanobacterial toxins, but the toxins may cause headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Long-term consumption of water containing high levels of cyanobacterial toxins may cause neurological or liver problems.  If allowed, farm animals and pets may consume large quantities of heavily contaminated water, resulting in sickness or death.

Some individuals are sensitive to blue-green algae, and may develop a mild skin rash or eye irritation even if there is no toxin produced by the bloom.  Some individuals will have no reaction.

For more information on blue-green algae, and precautions to be taken before swimming in or consuming water where there has been an algae bloom, go to www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and click on “My Home & Environment” to visit the webpage dedicated to blue-green algae.


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391



June 19, 2016 – Peterborough – Summer officially arrives on Monday, and Mother Nature is delivering weather to match the calendar. The most significant heat episode of the year is expected for much of Southern Ontario. Increasing heat over the past couple of days will peak Sunday and Monday with temperatures forecast to top off in the low to mid thirties. Overnight temperatures will also be warm Sunday night when readings are expected to be in the low twenties in many locales.

Later on Monday, an approaching cold front will herald the arrival of scattered showers and thunderstorms, followed by cooler conditions Monday night.

These hot conditions pose a health risk when you are not used to the heat.

While heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, health risks are greatest for:
– older adults;
– infants and young children;
– people with chronic illnesses such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions or psychiatric illnesses;
– people who work in the heat;
– people who exercise in the heat;
– homeless people; and
– people without access to air conditioning.

Drink plenty of liquids especially water before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.

Heat warnings are issued when very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

For more information, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.




For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence

Communications Manager

705-743-1000, ext. 391

June 15, 2016 – To view the Board of Health Meeting Summary for the June 8th meeting please click the image below

160608 Board of Health meeting summary for June 8, 2016
Screen Shot 06-15-16 at 10.46 AM

 June 10, 2016 – Peterborough – Today Peterborough Public Health revealed its new visual identity to more than 150 guests and local dignitaries as part of its Community Open House event celebrating its new location at Jackson Square on 185 King St. in downtown Peterborough.

“Now we are perfectly positioned both in terms of our new location and our new public image to move forward strategically as a public health agency,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Thanks to the robust involvement of local residents we now have a stronger brand that better reflects what we do and the people we serve.”

PrintA key aspect of the new logo is the use of the tagline “serving the communities of Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations, and the County and City of Peterborough” to ensure all residents feel included in the new brand.

The new logo design reflects the idea of how environments shape our health, and the diversity of public health work.  Symbolically it conveys the multiple layers of public health and is inspired by the organic shape of a medicine wheel to honour Peterborough Public Health’s long-standing relationships with Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations.  The silhouettes are intentionally designed to be open to interpretation as to who they represent:  it could be two adults, an adult and a child, individuals of any gender, two community partners, etc.  Together the people in the circle of layers symbolize the community as a whole to express the idea of population health.

Dr. Salvaterra noted that developing the new brand is considered a long-term investment, yet one that was made efficiently because of the move to a new location.  “It was timely to align these changes all at once since we would have had to update signage and print materials anyway to reflect our move to Jackson Square,” she said.

Not only did guests get to see Peterborough Public Health’s new brand for the first time, they also had a chance to visit all three floors of its new location at Jackson Square on 185 King St.  Everything on site is designed to help our community work together to improve public health.   It features:

  • Myrtle’s Kitchen – a brand new state-of-the-art community kitchen to address food insecurity by helping local residents come together to learn about nutrition, cooking skills and food safety;
  • New clinic spaces for sexual health, immunization, and travel health consultations;
  • Ten meeting rooms with modern AV technology to facilitate community discussions and planning meetings, including the J.K. Edwards Board Room which brings people together in a circle for collaborative decision making;
  • A large multipurpose room for prenatal classes, food handling courses and community gatherings;
  • A breastfeeding room for any mother needing a quiet space to feed her child

For more information, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391


June 10, 2016 – Peterborough – For the thousands of local residents who struggle to access healthy meals, Myrtle’s Kitchen is now open and ready to not only offer them food skills they need, but some hope as well.

MPP Jeff Leal was on hand to acknowledge the support of one of the campaign’s major donors, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which contributed a $61,100 Capital grant towards cooking equipment for the new community kitchen.  “I am pleased to take part in today’s official grand opening of Myrtle’s Kitchen, a project that received assistance from our government through the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said the Honourable Jeff Leal, MPP for Peterborough. “Myrtle’s Kitchen will have a positive impact on our downtown core and improve the quality of life for many community members by creating a space to access healthy food and learn valuable life skills.”

The new kitchen features state-of-the-art appliances, such as Peterborough’s only vent-less industrial dishwasher, two ranges (one gas, one electric), a heat-activated fire suppression system in the vent hood above the stoves, a separate food storage pantry, and is fully stocked with cooking equipment.  The kitchen will be used to teach cooking skills, healthy eating, safe food handling, and connect participants to local foods to support local food producers.

“Food security is a major challenge facing many individuals and families throughout the county and city of Peterborough as poverty rates continue to climb,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health for Peterborough Public Health.  “Opening Myrtle’s Kitchen today is a major community achievement, and will reduce the negative health outcomes this causes by creating a warm and welcoming place where everyone can learn how to cook nutritious, affordable meals while building a closer sense of community in the process.”

A joint initiative of Peterborough Public Health (formerly the Peterborough County-City Health Unit), the Nourish Project and the YWCA Peterborough Haliburton, Myrtle’s Kitchen officially opened today on the second floor of Peterborough Public Health at 185 King St.  To find out more about Myrtle’s Kitchen and upcoming programs, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca

A tribute wall was also unveiled today as part of the opening ceremonies to honour the many donors from across the county and city of Peterborough whose generosity brought Myrtle’s Kitchen from dream to reality.

A leading grantmaking foundation in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.  For more information, please visit: www.otf.ca


For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391

June 8, 2016 – Residents Reminded to Avoid Contact with Animals That Can Carry Rabies

Peterborough Public Health is confirming that a local bat found last week within the City of Peterborough has tested positive for rabies, and is reminding residents to steer clear of wild animals commonly known to carry the disease.

“This positive animal case confirms what we already know – that rabies is present in our area,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “This serves as a good reminder for residents to take precautions, such as getting your pets vaccinated, and avoiding contact with bats and other animals known to carry rabies.”

In Canada, the most common rabies carriers are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats.  Rabid animals may be extremely excited, attack objects or other animals, froth at the mouth, and bite at anything.  There were 13 rabid bats in Ontario in 2015 and zero in Peterborough.

To prevent rabies, always wear gloves and other protective clothing when dealing with a bat.  Warn children to stay away from bats and to report any contact with them.  If you or a pet comes in direct contact with a bat, you should contact your doctor or veterinarian. For tips on preventing conflicts with bats, visit www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-conflicts-bats.

While it’s rare, when humans develop rabies from infected animals it is almost 100% fatal. Rabies is a deadly disease of the central nervous system that affects humans and other mammals. The virus is concentrated in the saliva of a rabid animal and can spread through a bite, cut or scratch, or if the saliva comes in contact with the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes. There is no known treatment for rabies once the symptoms appear.  The disease cannot be treated, but it can be prevented through vaccination.

To protect your family and your pets from rabies:

  • Keep pets up-to-date with their rabies vaccination. In Ontario, it’s the law that all cats and dogs over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies
  • Teach children to stay away from wild animals, dogs and cats they don’t know or animals that are acting strangely
  • Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinating your livestock against rabies
  • Stay away from any wildlife, dog or cat that you don’t know or any animal that is acting strangely. A strange acting animal could be a sign that it is sick or injured.
  • Keep pets away from wildlife. Don’t let your pets run free in the neighbourhood and keep them indoors at night
  • Don’t feed, transport or relocate wildlife.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the area thoroughly with soapy water, seek medical advice immediately, and then contact Peterborough Public Health Unit at 705-743-1000, ext. 232.

If your pets or livestock have had contact with a wild animal, such as a bat, skunk, fox or raccoon, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Veterinarians seeking assistance with risk assessments or post-exposure management can call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at 1-877-424-1300.

If an animal is acting strange or sick, and neither a human nor pet/livestock have been exposed, contact your municipal animal control department or OSPCA. For non-emergencies and information about rabies in wildlife, call the MNRF rabies hotline at 1-888-574-6656.



For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391



June 8, 2016 – International Agency Research for Cancer to Feature Study on Benefits of Customized Care for the Community

Today Public Health Nurses Mary Pat Cannon and Catherine Therrien from Peterborough Public Health (PPH) presented their study on improving cancer screening rates for local women at the prestigious International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyons, France.  This study was selected for presentation out of 650 applications from around the world.

“It’s an honour to share this Peterborough success story with a global audience because we know regular cancer screening is key to detecting it early when prognosis is better, and this can reduce deaths,” said Donna Churipuy, Manager of Healthy Living Programs.  “This study examined the impact of past years’ triple integrated screening days and demonstrates the role that partnerships can play in improving cancer screening rates among local women, especially for women who tend to shy away from it or have difficulty finding the time to do it.”

Entitled Innovative Integrated Cancer Screening Day: A Wellness For Women…By Women, the research project identifies the barriers to reach under or never-screened women in the City and County of Peterborough. The project examined the unique approach of holding a one-day event for this target population that integrates pap tests, mammograms and fecal-occult blood tests (FOBT) for cervical, breast, and colon cancer screening.

“We carried out surveys to recognize the particular barriers so we can meet their needs,” said Anna Jamieson, Nurse Practitioner at the Peterborough Clinic who helped organize the events. “Our findings showed us what we already knew: women didn’t have the time to get screened or it wasn’t a priority for them. But in most cases, women worried about the stigma of what the results may reveal.”

The collaborative research project arose out of the successful event Triple Integrated Cancer Screening Days in 2012, 2014 and 2015 organized by Peterborough Public Health, Peterborough Health Centre (PRHC) and the Peterborough Clinic.  The number of women attending the event tripled to 145 participants in 2015 since the pilot event in 2012.  Also in 2015, more women returned for follow-up screenings with fewer no-shows than in previous years. The organizers are hopeful to reach more women who have never-screened for cancer when they hold the event again in 2016.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization. IARC coordinates and conducts both epidemiological and laboratory research into the causes of human cancer.

For more information about cancer screening, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and click on “My Life & Health” and then Cancer Screening/Prevention.


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391


June 7, 2016 – Heat Warning Information System Now Consistent Across Ontario

Peterborough Public Health announced today, that starting now, it will use the new harmonized heat warning system to make it easier for residents to take precautions from extreme heat wherever they are in Ontario.

“Having a simplified and easier to understand heat warning system is great news for local residents, especially those who are most vulnerable to extreme heat exposure,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “Heat warnings will now be applied consistently across the province so people know when and how to take precautions to protect their health.”

The new heat warning system was developed jointly by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and Ontario’s Public Health agencies for implementation across the province during the 2016 heat season.

The new heat warning system is based on a combination of the latest in health science, Ontario-specific health evidence, and a detailed analysis of weather patterns in Ontario. The province has been divided into three regions: northern, southern, and extreme south-west (Windsor) area, each with its own updated, region-specific temperature and humidex criteria.

Prior to 2015, there was no consistent approach among Ontario public health agencies for issuing and responding to Heat Warnings to reduce heat-related deaths and illness. Ontario public health agencies used various different criteria for activating heat alerts and response plans. This resulted in a diverse range of thresholds for calling alerts, as well as differing communication protocols and response mechanisms.

Beginning this summer season, Environment and Climate Change Canada will issue Heat Warnings 18 to 24 hours in advance of the heat event. Forecasters will assess if two or more consecutive days of weather that meet either the humidex or temperature criteria (daytime highs or nighttime lows) are expected in the region. If so, a Heat Warning will be issued.

The Ontario Heat Warning Protocol incudes two warning levels:

Level 1: Heat Warning

A  Heat Warning is issued when two consecutive days are forecasted to have a daytime high temperature greater than or equal to 31C AND a nighttime temperature greater than or equal to 20C or a humidex greater than 40.  This level reminds residents of the following core messages: to keep their home cool, stay out of the heat, keep the body cool and hydrated, assist others, and recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Level 2: Extended Heat Warning

An Extended Heat Warning will be issued for a heat event lasting three or more days.  This level of warning reminds residents of the core messages above, in addition to providing details on how and where to stay cool, advising suspension of strenuous outdoor activities, reminders to assist vulnerable groups, and to watch for further information through the media and the Peterborough Public Health website.

Extreme heat events are a potentially significant health risk and can have a severe impact on the health of vulnerable populations including infants, the elderly, shut-ins, persons with chronic diseases, the morbidly obese and the marginally housed.  Heat related illnesses such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are preventable.  Most healthy people can tolerate a short period of hot and humid weather as long as they stay cool and drink plenty of fluids. It is important to be aware that some medications may increase the health risks from extreme heat events.


For further information, please contact:

Wanda Tonus
Public Health Inspector
705-743-1000 ext. 285



June 3, 2016 Location: Curve Lake Community Centre, Curve Lake First Nation

 Media and the community are advised that the Board of Health will meet on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the Curve Lake Community Centre, located at 20 Whetung Street East, Curve Lake First Nation.

To download the agenda and the online board package, please visit:


The meeting is open to the community and members of the media.


For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence

Communications Manager

705-743-1000, ext. 391