Zika Virus Update – June 15, 2016

Zika Virus Updates - June 15, 2016
So far, there are no local mosquitoes transmitting the Zika Virus in the continental US or Canada, but there is mounting international concern over the virus as the Rio Olympics draw closer. We’ve compiled the latest updates into bite-sized chunks for you here:

Updated as of June 15, 2016

  • To date, there is one locally-acquired case of the Zika Virus through sexual transmission and 114 travel-related cases in Canada (+47 since last month). However, there are no documented cases of locally-transmitted Zika infections in Canada or the continental US.
  • On June 07, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued new guidelines on preventing sexual transmission of the Zika Virus. They suggest that women in Zika-infested areas should delay pregnancy, citing mounting evidence that sexual transmission of the virus is more common than previously assumed.
  • The WHO rejected a call to move the Rio Olympics, despite health experts urging the UN agency to take action over concerns that the Games will speed up the spread of the virus.
  • U.S. health officials and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) plan to send a rapid-response team to any community on the mainland and in Hawaii if the mosquito-borne Zika Virus begins to be transmitted locally. Six states – Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas – are being watched closely.

Source: WHO, CDC, and the Public Health Agency of Canada

Have any questions or feedback? Let us know in the comments section!

Zika Virus Update – May 16, 2016

Zika Virus Update - May 16, 2016

While there are still no transmission of the Zika virus from local mosquitoes, researchers have continued working towards understanding the virus. Breakthroughs have occurred in both finding out how the Zika virus can cause microcephaly, as well as developing a low-cost and rapid system for detecting the virus. See below for details of the latest updates:

  • To date, there is one locally acquired Zika virus case through sexual transmission and sixty-seven travel-related cases in Canada (+21 from last month). There are no documented cases of Zika infections in Canada or the continental U.S. from local mosquitoes.
  • Scientists from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute have developed a new system to detect the Zika virus in humans: a low-cost, rapid, paper-disc diagnostic tool that screens blood, urine, or saliva samples for specific strains of the virus. A change in colour to purple means that the virus is present, while yellow shows that the sample is free from infection.
  • Researchers at the University of California San Diego have found that the Zika virus could cause microcephaly by activating TLR3, a molecule that is normally used to defend against invading viruses. In turn, the hyper-activated TLR3 molecules turn off genes that stem cells need to specialize into brain cells and turn on genes that trigger cell suicide. Inhibiting this mechanism has been shown to reduce brain cell damage, which hints at a new possible therapeutic approach to mitigating the effects of prenatal Zika virus infection.

What does this mean for you?

To prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus, Vancouver Coastal Health is recommending that:

  • Men returning from Zika virus affected areas should avoid unprotected sexual activity for 6 months, or, if their partner is pregnant, for the duration of the pregnancy.
  • Women exposed to the Zika virus either through travel or sexual contact are advised to wait at least 2 months to attempt conception.

Source: CDC, WHO, Public Health Agency of Canada, NBC, and Vancouver Coastal Health.

Please leave us any questions, or feedback you may have in the comments below and stay tuned next month for our next update!

Zika Virus Update – April 21, 2016

Zika Virus Updates - April 21, 2016The CDC has confirmed that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly. However, there is still no proof of a direct link between the virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). We have summarized the most pertinent updates for you below:

Updated as of April 21, 2016

  • The CDC has confirmed the Zika virus as a cause of microcephaly. In CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden’s words, “There is still a lot that we don’t know [about Zika], but there is no longer any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly.”
  • There are no changes in the CDC guidelines regarding the Zika virus, but pregnant women are discouraged from travelling to any area where the Zika virus is widespread.
  • The WHO confirmed that sexual contact can spread the Zika virus for at least three weeks after the initial infection. However, the exact period for protected sex remains undefined.
  • The Zika virus’s association with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and other severe nervous system disorders has expanded the risk group. While the WHO has reported increased cases of GBS from Brazil, further research is needed to confirm a direct link.
  • Since the last update, local mosquito transmission has been reported in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
  • To date, there are zero locally acquired and forty-six travel-related Zika virus cases in Canada (+24 since last month). This includes two pregnant women in BC who recently went to a trip in South America and they are currently being closely monitored.

Source: CDC, WHO, & the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Any questions or comments? Feel free to leave us a comment below! If not, stay tuned next month for our next Zika virus update.

Zika Virus Update – March 24, 2016

Zika Virus Updates - March 24, 2016There continues to be a very low probability of Zika virus transmission in Canada, as well as some possible headway being made with finding a vaccine. See below for the latest updates that we have gathered for you.

Updated as of March 24, 2016

  • There continues to be a very low probability of Zika virus transmission in Canada, as the Public Health Agency of Canada reiterates that the mosquitoes responsible for transmitting the virus are not found in Canada due to our climate.
  • To date, there are zero locally acquired and thirty-two travel-related Zika virus cases in Canada (+7 since last week)
  • Ugandan virologists believe Africans have resistance to the Zika virus, as there is no record of Zika health problems when it first emerged in Africa 70 years ago. However, no tests have been done to verify this.
  • An analysis by Harvard Medical School researchers on surveys in Nigeria, Senegal, and other countries have found individuals with Zika antibodies in their blood samples. Further studies may expedite current vaccination research.

Source: CDC, Reuters, and the Public Health Agency of Canada

This is the last of our weekly updates, but we’ll have another update for you in a month! For the basics of the Zika virus, including what it is and how it spreads, see our initial Zika blog post. As always, let us know in the comments section if you have any questions or feedback.

Zika Virus Update – March 17, 2016

Zika Virus Updates - March 17, 2016

The Zika virus is continuing to spread, carried primarily through the Aedes mosquito. While there is still no definitive link between the virus and microcephaly or Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), efforts are being made to control the mosquito population. Here are the latest updates we have gathered for you.

Updated as of March 17, 2016

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada expects that the number of Zika virus-infected people will increase, as approximately three million Canadians are expected to travel to Zika-affected countries in 2016.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted preliminary approval to release genetically modified Aedes mosquitoes in Florida after determining that there would be no significant impact to human, animal, or plant life from the experiment. Oxitec, the British biotech firm that produced these mosquitoes, has genetically modified them so that the males produce offspring that cannot redproduce.
  • Currently, there are zero locally acquired and twenty-five travel-related cases of the Zika virus in Canada (+5 since last week)

Source: CDC, WHO, CBC, and Public Health Agency of Canada

Feel free to visit our blog post on basics of the Zika virus and stay tuned next week for another update. As always, let us know in the comments section if you have any questions or feedback!

Iridia in the Community 2016

Iridia in the Community
3 years ago, Iridia Medical was born. As we rebranded from Global Medical Services, we emerged with a refreshed identity and a new set of values that we live and breathe. Today, on our branding anniversary, we would like to give you a glimpse of how we live out our value of Social Responsibility.

Iridia in the Community is an initiative that demonstrates our commitment to social responsibility. This annual initiative provides our employees with the opportunity to give back to and engage with their communities, as well as share with others the causes that are important to them. In December 2015, each employee was provided with $50 to give back to their community however they saw fit. We then requested them to share how they used the money and why they chose that organization.

The videos below give you a sense what our employees are passionate about, as well as what organizations in BC are doing to make the city, the province, and the world a better place.

Other donations from Iridia employees include:

To learn more about last year’s Iridia in the Community donations, see our 2014 wrap up blog post and highlight video.

Zika Virus Update – March 10, 2016

Zika Virus Update - March 10, 2016
Iridia Medical continues to follow the latest updates on the Zika virus. Here is the second of the four weekly updates that we’ll be providing you.

Updated as of March 10, 2016

  • So far, the Zika virus has triggered outbreaks in 41 countries. However, cases linking the Zika virus to babies with birth defects have only been seen in Brazil and French Polynesia.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the traditional insecticide spraying has had no significant impact in slowing the mosquitoes responsible for spreading the virus. They have now declared the spread of Zika in the Americas to be a global emergency.
  • Brazilian authorities have noted that other mosquito species beyond the Aedes mosquito may carry the Zika virus. Scientists have also observed that other mosquito species can carry the virus, though it is unclear whether these mosquitoes can actually infect people.
  • Currently, there are zero locally-acquired and twenty travel-related Zika virus cases in Canada (+4 since last week).

Source: CDC, WHO, CBC, & Public Health Agency of Canada

Feel free to visit our blog post on basics of the Zika virus and stay tuned next week for another update. As always, let us know in the comments section if you have any questions or feedback!

Supporting North Peace Secondary School in a Paramedic Career Path Opportunity

Dr. Holmes Presenting at North Peace Secondary SchoolThere is a significant shortage of local paramedics working in both the public and private sector in rural, northern, and remote areas of British Columbia. Iridia Medical is looking to address this ongoing challenge by supporting training and mentoring for a cohort of Grade 12 work experience students from North Peace Secondary School interested in a career as a paramedic or other health care profession. This initiative represents one of several ways Iridians continue to act upon our key value of social responsibility.

Iridia works in several remote areas with resource companies in northeast B.C. to provide an industry-leading level of medical care. We employ paramedics and Occupational First Aid Attendants (Level 3 or OFA3s for short), provide them with 24-hour access to on-call emergency physicians for further expertise, and deploy them to large remote work camps.

Iridia is also committed to hiring paramedics and OFA3s from the communities where we work. However, many of the surrounding small towns and villages near our remote operations suffer from a shortage of trained personnel. Paramedic and OFA3 expertise is not only needed by us, but also by B.C. Ambulance Stations and other industrial projects.

To address this gap, we are working with the District Principal of Careers at North Peace Secondary School (NPSS), Mr. Brian Campbell, to implement an innovative program to help guide Grade 12 students through the process of becoming fully licensed paramedics.

Dubbed the Paramedic Career Path (PCP), the initial phase of this innovative initiative is getting set to launch. A group of six to eight Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students will be selected and then trained to become job-ready OFAs. Once students are qualified as OFAs and complete a number of additional safety courses, they will be paired with, and directly supervised by, one of our Iridia paramedics in the field. They will not only have the chance to provide real-life patient care in a safe environment but also gain invaluable mentoring experience.

Shell, Progress Energy, and Viper Innovation have generously provided grant money for a number of safety training initiatives in School District #60, including the OFA training for the Paramedic Career Path initiative. A second phase of the program will then support OFA3’s to further their skills to become Emergency Medical Responders and eventually Primary Care Paramedics, in collaboration with B.C. Ambulance Service (BCAS).

The program will start in Fort St. John with plans to expand to both Fort Nelson and Dawson Creek high schools. To kick off, Dr. Holmes, Iridia’s Founder, travelled to Fort St. John to provide two sessions for close to forty Grade 12 students from both Transition to Trades and academic track students. Accompanying him were Rick Loukes, BCAS Superintendent, and Makayla McLeod, Iridia’s Assistant Paramedic Coordinator. These introductory sessions included a question-and-answer session with hands-on stations set up for students to practice CPR on the Iridia SmartMan manikin, learn how to use an Automated External Defibrillator, and complete an ambulance walkthrough. The presentation was very well received with a number of students anxiously looking forward to being involved in the program. Stay tuned!

Rick Loukes Teaching FSJ Students Makayla Training Students Rick Loukes Showing Students AED Electrodes Dr. Holmes Teaching Student CPR on SmartMan

Zika Virus Update – March 04, 2016

Zika Virus Updates - March 04, 2016

Last week, Iridia separated fact from fiction about the Zika virus through a blog post that answered some frequently asked questions. We addressed topics ranging from what the virus is and how it spreads, to methods of managing the risk.

Over the next four weeks, we will be releasing weekly updates to keep you informed about the virus. Here is this week’s update.

Updated as of March 04, 2016

  • A group of doctors from Argentina claims that Pyripoxyfen, a pesticide used to eliminate mosquito larvae, could be the cause of the microcephaly outbreak in Brazil. However, Brazil’s federal government and the World Health Organization reject the claim and say the likely culprit is the Zika virus.
  • Puerto Rico has declared a public health emergency and is working to protect residents from the Zika virus. This U.S. territory has had nearly 120 cases of Zika Virus infection, including five pregnant women. The Obama administration has asked Congress for more than $200 million to help Puerto Rico as the Zika virus makes its way northwards from South America.
  • Currently, there are zero locally-acquired and sixteen travel-related Zika virus cases in Canada.

Source: CDC, CNN, & Public Health Agency of Canada

Stay tuned next week for another update and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or feedback!

Iridia Does Vegas: Learn, Innovate, and Experience


How does Iridia become one of the fastest growing companies for 5 years running? A large part of it is our focus on client experiences. In order to deliver exceptional client experiences, we have developed and continue to refine our Ideal Client Journey. Vegas, as a city built around delivering an Ideal Client Journey to all its visitors, provides a perfect platform for inspiration and motivation.

Our annual trip to Vegas is centred around 3 objectives:

  • Learn – We are all students on this trip, and our instructors are be the city, its people, and the world’s biggest brands
  • Innovate – Vegas gives us exposure to ideas and concepts that we can bring back and include in Iridia’s success formula
  • Experience – Iridia Does Vegas is an opportunity for us to step fully into the role of a participant and observe everything that contributes to the experiences Vegas has to offer

The city of Vegas provides a spectrum of learning opportunities. We’ve highlighted some of our favourites for you.

Consumer Electronics Show – Innovation Central

Every January, the city of Las Vegas hosts the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest trade shows on the planet. With over 180,000 attendees and 2.4 million square feet of floor space, the conference takes place in 3 separate convention centers. For many companies, this is their primary platform for announcing new products and showcasing the greatest in consumer electronics technology.


An industry-only event, Iridia attends as a way to learn from the exhibitors and to identify any products that we may eventually look to retail ourselves. Exhibitors use a lot of ways to engage the attendees. For example, all you need is a valid license to take a BMW i3, m4 or i8 for a spin. Or, step into the massive Samsung booth and view hundreds of their products. If seeing is not enough, their demonstration models allow you to personally experience their products. You don’t have to look far to see innovation.

Zappos – A Client Focus Role Model

Zappos is the largest online shoe retailer in America, with their headquarters in Downtown Las Vegas. Their focus on superior customer service makes them a prime learning opportunity. They have built a company culture that has boosted them to over $1 billion in sales, on top of being featured in Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For, for 6 years running.

From an open work environment, interest in employee well-being, and work flexibility, Zappos is one of the top companies to learn from. In an hour and a half, the Zappos headquarters tour provided us with an intimate overview of the company and how they operate, as well as unique ideas for our own office and employees.

Can’t get to Vegas? Their CEO’s book Delivering Happiness gives you a great taste on the company’s culture.

Group Picture at Zappos_FinalZappos2015_450x338

Other Iridia Does Vegas 2016 Experiences

From its beginnings in the early 20th century, Las Vegas has blossomed from being a haven for gamblers and illegal activity to a city that focuses on providing world-class entertainment experiences.
What is it about certain atmospheres that create a longing for more? We visited some of the best hotels, shows, and restaurants with a strong experiential element to learn. From breath-taking themes to top-notch service, these were just two of the businesses that kept us on the edge of our seats.

  • Rose.Rabbit.Lie was experiential dining at its finest. A meal was made vibrant by live music and dynamic entertainment. The restaurant itself moved and shifted throughout the night!
    Caption: Part of Rose.Rabbit.Lie wasn’t even a restaurant!
  • Cirque Du Soleil is a world-class circus for good reason. We went to see Zarkana and were not disappointed. Outside the theatre, every detail was purposefully designed to revolve around the show’s theme. Once we got inside, the staff’s guidance to our seats and the pre-show performances set up the circus mood, building anticipation for the show itself. The main event kept us intrigued and engaged. There was always something happening and virtually no downtime. From a live band, scenes switching on the fly, moving stages, and the performers seamlessly switching in and out, the experience, it was perfect.

In conclusion

A trip to Vegas may not seem like the most obvious catalyst for growth, but it has brought us excitement, inspiration and ideas. Whether it was CES 2016, the Zappos tour, a show or the city itself, each one of us took something special home with them from their time in Vegas.

Think about it this way, if going into a business was as fun and memorable as going to Vegas, wouldn’t you want to go?