A large measles outbreak may have grown in Canada after 248 Toronto, Canada city employees were suspended without pay for refusing to use immunization coverage, including nurses, paramedics, paramedics. doctors, and police officers.
Eighty-two children have been diagnosed with measles, while 68 others have been confirmed with the illness. Seventy-five of those have been confirmed cases in the city of Toronto.
The Public Health Agency of Canada was able to trace cases back to multiple children who had received the MMR-17 vaccine. MMR-17 is the most common measles vaccine.
“Only 65 of the 84 who had the measles vaccine had been immunized with MMR-17. This vaccine protects against three separate strains of measles, so that leaves a significant number of people who, during this outbreak, have had complete measles immunity,” said Dr. Anca Zirulnick, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto, Ontario in an interview with Business Insider.
Measles is caused by a virus and is highly contagious. It typically begins with a runny nose, cough, and fever. Within two to four days, one can develop a red rash that begins on the face and spreads, and is sometimes bloody.
For the first 72 hours, the individual is contagious before the rash starts. Symptoms usually end after about a week.
The disease is spread by airborne droplets from a sneeze, cough, or from an infected person who sneezes or coughs around those with no symptoms.
About one in 500 people with measles can die from the disease and 10 times more people are hospitalized from measles. Children have a one in four chance of being hospitalized if they are not vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Dr. Spencer Bell, physician at Georgetown University Medical Center emphasized the importance of getting the measles vaccine.
“You want to do it as early as possible as you can so when you get the disease you’re better equipped to fight it, it’s easier to treat with medicine, and the longer you get it and the more time you have before you actually get sick, it’s less likely that the virus will take hold, multiply, and show up in the body’s tissues, which of course it does,” said Dr. Bell.
Every four to six years, measles resurfaces, usually in more developed countries. This outbreak in Toronto is the largest recorded for measles in Canada. Vaccination is necessary as a matter of prevention and the fact that it is highly contagious.
People should make sure their children are up to date with their measles immunization to make sure they don’t contract the disease.
There is no scheduled vaccine to prevent measles in the United States and 90 percent of children in Canada and 50 percent of children in the United States are vaccinated for measles.