Tapardjuk questions GN after 2nd baby dies in Igloolik

Nunavut government sends more nurses to stricken community


The Government of Nunavut has sent more medical workers into Igloolik, where a second baby died this week, possibly from a “flu-like” illness circulating throughout Nunavut.

The death of the baby, which follows the previous death of a nine-month old girl Feb. 19, spurred Louis Tapardjuk, MLA for Amittuq, to ask Health Minister Tagak Curley March 2 for more information and action to deal with what he called “a crisis.”

“I would like the minister to inform my constituents exactly what their plans are: what they are going to do,” Tapardjuk asked Curley during question period in the legislative assembly.

Curley replied by saying the GN has sent more nurses to the community to “provide more support.”

Two nurses are on-call there 24 hours a day, he said.

“In some cases, each child is being looked after for two hours to see what their symptoms are. If there are any children that are suffering the flu, or who are very sick, then they will look into those cases,” Curley said. “That’s where the situation stands right now in Igloolik.”

Tapardjuk also called for more research into what is causing people in Igloolik and elsewhere in Nunavut to get sick.

“I know for a fact that the Department of Health and Social Services have been unable to provide a very clear picture, other than what they presently undertake to alleviate pain and deal with health. I believe that they have to research more about the cause of sicknesses,” he said.

A public health advisory from the Government of Nunavut’s health department, issued March 1, refers only to reports of “influenza-like activity throughout Nunavut.”

The advisory said there are lab-confirmed cases of H3N2 and H1N1 influenza in Nunavut, but doesn’t say which communities.

The advisory only says that each of these types of flu can be prevented by this year’s seasonal flu vaccination.

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