Alberta Health Services has confirmed a case of measles in the Lethbridge-area, and is advising of potential exposures.
AHS is in process of contacting unimmunized individuals who have been identified as immediate contacts.
“We are asking all potentially exposed individuals to monitor their health for symptoms of measles disease,” says Dr. Vivien Suttorp, Medical Officer of Health, South Zone. “These individuals must continue to watch for symptoms of measles through November 4, 2013.”
Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose or red eyes, and a red blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after fever starts. The rash typically begins behind the ears and on the face, spreading down to the body, and finally to the arms and legs.
“This case is a reminder of the importance of vaccination,” says Dr. Suttorp [Medical Officer of Health, South Zone]. “We are seeing outbreaks of measles around the world, and whether you’re travelling yourself or staying at home here in Alberta, there’s an increasing risk of being exposed to measles and other vaccine preventable illnesses. We strongly encourage all Albertans to ensure they are up to date with all immunizations.”
The article advises those with symptoms to avoid other people and to call Healthlink Alberta 1-866-408-LINK (5465) or their doctor as soon as they can.
And then there were EIGHT! According to this report, that one case is now 8 cases among members of an extended family!
Symptoms of Measles are listed as:
… SYMPTOMS OF MEASLES INCLUDE FEVER, COUGH, RUNNY NOSE OR RED EYES AND A RED BLOTCHY RASH THAT APPEARS THREE TO SEVEN DAYS AFTER FEVER STARTS. THE RASH TYPICALLY BEGINS BEHIND THE EARS AND ON THE FACE, SPREADING DOWN TO THE BODY, AND FINALLY TO THE ARMS AND LEGS.
This comes shortly after local health officials warned that immunization rates in the area are too low, something this blog reported on here. Measles is incurable but it is preventable. Unfortunately the anti-vaccine movement has convinced many people that vaccines are ineffective and more dangerous than the diseases they seek to prevent.
How bad is measles? According to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (bold in quote added).
Measles can lead to complications ranging in severity from diarrhea to encephalitis (swelling of the brain), with adult patients typically being subject to more severe complications. Although the disease is rarely fatal in developed countries, the death rate can be quite high in underdeveloped nations. Case-fatality rates have been recorded as high as 28%, and tend to rise during wars or widespread food shortages. As recently as 2000, measles caused 1.1 million deaths globally among young children in a year’s time.
It is incredibly disturbing how widespread the anti-vaccine movement is and how interlinked they are other non-scientific or alternate health ideas. We should also not forget that a southern Alberta baby died of whooping cough (pertusis) last year. Lethbridge’s Harvest Haven Heath buys into the soundly debunked link between vaccines and autism and is a major instigator in the local anti-fluoride movement (under the guise of Fluoride Free Lethbridge). Harper Chiropractic say that their site “links to some of the best health sites on the internet“ two of which are anti-vaccine sites. Parascak Family Chiropractic‘s Facebook page has a link to an anti-vaccine poster. In Australia, the body governing the country’s chiropractors announced that they would review how practitioners were trained. The Sydney Morning Herald reported (Aug 9, 2013):
On Thursday the chairman of the Chiropractic Board of Australia said it had removed some courses from its approved training schedule and would be randomly auditing practitioners to ensure they were not making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of chiropractic.
It also announced all registered chiropractors would be required to remove anti-vaccination claims from their websites.
If only we could have this kind of responsibility in Canada! At least Health Canada has just required homeopathic “Vaccines” (“nosodes”) to carry warning labels. From the Globe and Mail
The department has altered the document that outlines how homeopathic vaccines should be used, saying they must now contain the following warning: “ “This product is not intended to be an alternative to vaccination.” …
In an email statement, Health Canada said it decided to add a warning to nosode labels after hearing from health care professionals concerned the products were “being used and promoted off-label as a substitution for vaccination.” The department has also received advertising complaints over the marketing of nosodes as “natural” alternative vaccines. …
The major concerns are that nosodes can divert people from traditional vaccination campaigns, give people a false sense of security and hasten the spread of infectious disease, such as measles or whooping cough. It’s a serious public-health issue, given that falling vaccination rates have led to outbreaks of disease in Canada and other countries where the illnesses have previously been under control. Much of the fear over vaccines can be traced to the work of now-disgraced Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who falsely reported that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is linked to autism.
For more on the fight against Nosodes go to Stop Nosodes‘s site.
Immunize Canada http://immunize.ca “One hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the leading cause of death worldwide. In Canada, they now cause less than 5% of all deaths – thanks to immunization programs across the country.”
Immunize BC has some good information and some great posters, etc. to help spread the word, including the little badge just above.
Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario offers some good reasons why children should be vaccinated.
Public Health Agency of Canada’s site is a goldmine of good information. The graph below is taken from their site.
The PHAC government site provides some links to further information, which I copy here verbatim:
- Elimination of Measles, Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome in Canada: Documentation and Verification Report – Executive Summary
- Measles Surveillance: Guidelines for Laboratory Support. CCDR 1999;25
Guidelines and Recommendations
- Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Measles Outbreaks in Canada – Executive Summary
- 2006 Canadian Immunization Guide, Measles Vaccine Chapter
- 2006 Canadian Immunization Guide Table on Vaccines Currently Approved for Use in Canada, March 2008
History of Vaccines A well illustrated history, explaining the development and something of the science of immunization. It includes posters etc of early anti-V propaganda by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia