Death by carbon monoxide shock in Canada

Image copyright ACC/Screenshot Image caption The seriousness of chlorine vapour poisoning can only be described as devastating

Canada’s Ontario has recorded the most cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in the world since the illness’s discovery in the 1940s.

The province recorded 741 new cases of COVID-19, an ultra-low dose form of the gas, in the year up to March.

This compares with 1,304 new cases in all of 2017. COVID-19 can kill if inhaled.

It has now sparked a cautionary campaign in Canada’s most populous province.

The intensity of the crackdown is not surprising, says Jean-Luc Guerin, executive director of the Canadian Lung Association.

“It has to be done by the government and the health sector because they are actually impacted the most by COVID,” he said.

‘Blackout symptoms’

Image copyright EVA/ Image caption Five fatalities and eight serious injuries were recorded in Ontario during 2018

Scientists discovered the deadly substance in 1948 by accident.

They noticed a 20% drop in carbon monoxide from car engines. They thought it might be an aerosol that could be dropped from a plane and inhaled by citizens.

But as further trials established, COVID-19 can be produced from just a litre of cooking oil. The effects of the poisoning are only noticeable if you are exposed to CO throughout the day.

The initial symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting. They can appear after hours or days of exposure, and include the bizarre symptoms of “blackout symptoms”.

Image copyright SWIFT Image caption The substance, found in cooking oil, can kill if inhaled

Inhaling high doses can lead to an episode of “heart arrhythmia”, and suffocation can trigger “death by hypoxia”, or lack of oxygen.

CA-01, the family members’ advocacy group that is keeping up the annual study into CO02v, says the “worst possible” cases of the illness can be seen in the southern Ontario city of Windsor.

Children, elderly people and people who work in the kitchen are said to be most susceptible.

Three people died and four others had serious injuries during the last 12 months in the city.

Mr Guerin says there is a need for an education programme in schools to prevent COv.

“Right now, the public awareness and education about the tragedy is yet to be achieved,” he said.

This new awareness will not come cheap. Ontario says it will spend “tens of millions” of dollars across the province to educate the public and health workers.

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