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HomeHealth and LifestyleHealth Unit Issues Urgent Call For Childhood Vaccinations As Measles Cases On...

Health Unit Issues Urgent Call For Childhood Vaccinations As Measles Cases On The Rise

KAWARTHA LAKES-The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) is advising residents to exercise caution when travelling this March break as cases of measles continue to rise throughout Ontario and other countries.

National monitoring of cases gets reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada who issue weekly surveillance reports and monitoring maps for measles and rubella in Canada. Currently, there are 4 active cases of measles in Ontario and reports of measles cases in two additional provinces.

While measles has been eliminated in Canada the health unit says outbreaks can happen when susceptible individuals (i.e. unvaccinated) travel to and return from other countries where measles is circulating. Officials say most of these cases involve unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children, however, a non-travel, vaccinated measles case has been reported in Ontario. According to Health Canada only 79 per cent of the population have been vaccinated for measles.

Measles is a highly contagious virus spread through coughing and sneezing that can live for up to two hours in the air. Symptoms of measles include fever, a red blotchy rash, red watery eyes, and white spots in the mouth. Measles can be prevented by vaccination, and Ontario’s Routine Immunization Schedule includes two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines for children before the age of seven years.

“Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, some children have had delays of their routine childhood immunizations, which includes the MMR vaccination, and leaves them at risk of contracting measles,” says Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health, and CEO for the HKPR District Health Unit. “With the rise in measles cases, we’d like to remind and encourage people to ensure all your immunizations are up to date, including the MMR vaccine, particularly before traveling internationally this March break.”

 Reduce Your Risk and Potential Exposure to Measles
Due to the increased risk of exposure when travelling internationally, the HKPR District Health Unit is recommending that travellers be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles, and eligible people who are not up to date with their measles vaccination receive a dose of the MMR vaccine, including:

  • Infants six to 11 months who will be travelling.
  • Any child who missed their first and/or second dose of the MMR vaccine.
  • Adults aged 18 years and older who have previously received one dose of MMR vaccine should receive a second dose if they are health care workers, post-secondary students, planning to travel or based on their doctor’s recommendation.

Routine immunizations, including measles, are available with your family doctor or those without a family doctor can book an immunization appointment with the HKPR District Health Unit by phone at 1-866-888-4577 x 1507 or online at hkpr.on.ca/VaccineClinics.



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