Vancouver measles outbreak sending unvaccinated youth to doctors for shots

Mom looks for early vaccination

Mom looks for early vaccination

It is a very contagious disease and spreads easily.

"There's always a risk of measles importation into Canada", Tam said from Ottawa. 'We're having outbreaks that are protracted, that are sizable, and that are growing.

Hayden said that instituting a system where a child is excluded from school because they are not vaccinated is a big burden for the child considering it's not their choice.

"The Kootenays have one of the lowest immunization rates, and it's not just for measles or for MMR; it affects other vaccines as well". But sometimes, people will object and will not immunize.

In 2017, 87 per cent of two-year-olds in Alberta had received their first measles vaccine and even fewer - 79 per cent of kids - had received their second dose by age seven, according to Alberta Health Services.

"The concerning thing in Alberta as well is that those rates of immunization have been stuck at that level for quite a long time".

The majority of cases are tied to a handful of schools, but the B.C. Centre for Disease Control warns that anyone travelling to parts of the world also experiencing measles outbreaks is at risk. "I think youth have adapted along with the internet and have a better sense of which sources are reliable, and with so much information there now, can compare information easily", she said.

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AHS says the measles vaccine is highly effective and safe.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) said on Tuesday that 33 students and a staff member have been ordered to stay away from school. When the child returned to Vancouver to attend school, other students became infected.

Dr. Silvina Mema, Interior Health's medical health officer, said awareness of potential measles exposure cases is heightened due to the outbreaks in the Vancouver area and in southern Washington state. The World Health Organization says there were 110,000 deaths from measles globally in 2017, a lot of them children under age 5.

Infection with the measles virus starts with a high fever, coughing, sneezing and red eyes, followed by the development of a blotchy, painful rash, said Dr. Sarah Wilson of Public Health Ontario.

Complications from the virus include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), seizures, deafness, brain damage and death.

"While it is expected that most travellers will be immune to measles, some individuals will be susceptible, including infants less than one year old or people who have never been immunized against measles", a BCCDC statement said last month.

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