Published: Fri, February 22, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Province mulls vaccination registry in wake of measles outbreak

Province mulls vaccination registry in wake of measles outbreak

"Measles is a disease that doesn't need a lot of susceptible individuals to start a serious epidemic", said Dr. Gaston De Serres, an epidemiologist and expert on vaccination with the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ).

Tam's comments Tuesday come in the wake of a cluster of nine cases of measles in Vancouver that began in recent weeks after an unvaccinated Canadian child contracted the disease on a family trip to Vietnam.

Of the 127 schools in the City of Vancouver, only 27 have kindergarten measles immunization rates of 90 per cent or higher.

Measles is considered a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus that can spread through sneezing, coughing and close personal contact.

Complications of measles can include: ear infections (1 in 10 cases); diarrhea (8 in 100 cases); pneumonia (1 in 10 cases); hospital stay (1 to 2 in 10 cases) and encephalitis (1 in every 1,000 cases) that can lead to seizures, deafness or permanent brain damage. It can also be fatal. The virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person, and can survive for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.

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People who can not be vaccinated, including infants, people with certain underlying health conditions and those undergoing chemotherapy, rely on high levels of immunity within communities to protect them from the disease. A person is contagious for about four days before the rash erupts and four days after its onset. "While measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa". "And that I think is another reason why it can spread before you know it".

Before the outbreak, Calueng said the DoH was already tasked to conduct massive vaccinations throughout the region in collaboration with the different barangay (villages) health workers, the municipal and provincial health offices and other health volunteers. The U.N. health agency said the resurgence was happening at a global level, including in wealthy nations where vaccination coverage has historically been high.

If you have parents that are reluctant to get you vaccinated and wish to find out how to protect yourself (as increasingly children are), check out our guide on how to get vaccinated without your parents' permission.

Students admitted to the University of Arkansas are required by Arkansas State Law to provide documentation of two MMR immunizations.

"The measles vaccine isn't ideal, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", Melnick said in a separate statement on Wednesday. "That is something that we've known for a long time, and we are making efforts there to try to address that".

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