As of February 26, there were no confirmed cases of measles in the region of the Interior Health (IH).
Last week, Dr. Silvina Mema, IH Medical Officer, confirmed that although measles cases were recently confirmed in Vancouver, a. and in Washington State, there were no confirmed cases in the region covered by the HI.
Several children attending two French schools in Vancouver were confirmed as having measles earlier this month. Vancouver's father, Emmanual Bilodeau, who has since admitted not having his three children vaccinated because of scientific mistrust, has confirmed that one of his sons contracted measles during a visit to Vietnam earlier this year. His other two children also contracted the disease, which spread to the French-speaking schools they attend.
Bilodeau says he and his wife at the time made the decision not to vaccinate their children 10 to 12 years ago because he believed in a theory – discredited by science – that there was a link between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine ( MMR). and autism. Even though he says he now knows the theory was unmasked, he still refused to vaccinate his children for MMR before traveling to Vietnam, despite receiving several other vaccines before the trip.
The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the Government of Canada and travel clinics recommend that all routine vaccines – including the MMR vaccine – be up-to-date when traveling to Vietnam.
Two confirmed cases were added in the Vancouver area on February 22, two more on February 24, and two more on February 27, bringing the number of confirmed B.C. residents to 15 to have the disease. One of those affected was a passenger on an international flight to Canada on February 12, whose flight continued to Edmonton and visited several locations in Leduc, Alberta, while infectious. Alberta Health Services has issued a public alert listing these sites, and is asking everyone who thinks they may have been vaccinated immediately.
Measles is a serious illness caused by a virus, which can remain alive in one environment for several hours, putting others at risk of contracting the virus. It is highly contagious and spreads easily through the air. Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red, inflamed eyes. These are followed by a rash, which first begins on the face and neck, spreads to the chest, arms and legs and lasts for at least three days.
IH says anyone who is concerned about their potential exposure to measles but no symptoms can call 8-1-1 to speak with a nurse. Those who may have been exposed and developed the first symptoms of measles should consult a doctor. Please call in advance to tell the office that you can have measles, so the office can take precautions to protect other patients.
IH says the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against measles is to make sure the vaccines are up-to-date. Two doses of the MMR vaccine offer the best protection and the vaccine is highly effective and safe. Within the IH region, East Kootenay has the highest number of two-year-old children who had the MMR vaccine (90 percent), while the Kootenay threshold has the lowest (81 percent). The Thompson Cariboo Shuswap and Okanagan regions are both in 86 percent of the two-year-old children who are on the MMR vaccine.
Children under 12 months of age are not vaccinated against measles so the best way to protect them and other vulnerable people is to ensure that people around them are vaccinated. People born before January 1, 1970 are considered immune to measles and do not need the vaccine. Contact your local Inner Health public health center if you are unsure about your immunization status, or the status of your children, or make an appointment.
In B.C., children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine: the first at 1 year of age and the second at 4-6 years of age. A single dose of measles vaccine administered between 12 and 15 months of age is estimated at 85 to 95 percent efficacy. With a second dose, the effectiveness is almost 100%.
Immunized individuals are also much less likely to get measles, and even if they develop measles infection, they are less likely to have serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (brain damage that can lead to deafness, as well as permanent brain damage and even death ).
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