Inuit infants need access to medication to prevent respiratory illness – Nunatsiaq News

13 January 2020

“The Nunavut and Canadian governments must listen to health experts and make life-saving antibody drugs available to combat RSV”

Inuit infants living in Arctic Canada have some of the highest rates of hospitalization and intensive care unit admission in the world due to a virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Most children who get the virus come down with a cold, or mild respiratory illness, but RSV can also lead to pneumonia, inflammation and blockage of small airways in the lungs (bronchiolitis) and death.

The vulnerability of Inuit children to RSV is exacerbated by chronic poverty, overcrowding, poor indoor air quality as well as other social and environmental factors. The social and environmental determinants of Indigenous health are issues that we care about deeply and have worked on with communities, academics and governments.

In the Arctic, sick babies are often evacuated by air ambulance to regional hospitals and hospitals in southern Canada and can spend prolonged time in intensive care units.

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