Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Canada could see large amount of measles outbreaks, health experts warn

Canada could see large amount of measles outbreaks, health experts warn

The vaccines include MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, and MMR-V, which also protects against the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. Washington and NY, which has seen about 200 people infected with measles in recent months, are the only states with current outbreaks, the agency says.

It is also 15 times a record low recorded in 2016.

As of January 6, the county-which sits just north of the border from Portland, Oregon-has tallied 50 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases of measles since January 1.

Fever is followed by the onset of cough, runny nose, and/or eye inflammation. Severe complications include pneumonia, which can be fatal, and encephalitis (swelling of the brain), which can lead to convulsions, hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities in children. Measles is highly contagious and early identification remains a critical public health measure to reduce the spread of the disease.

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Two adults died from measles in 2017 in the UK.

Part of the challenge facing public health officials is that Canada doesn't have a national vaccination registry and provinces track vaccine rates differently, meaning it can be hard to get an accurate, real-time sense of how many people are up-to-date on their shots - and where pockets of low immunization are.

Three Multnomah County youths have measles, bringing Oregon's total of measles cases to four.

A total of 72 children and adults died in 2018 following infection, the World Health Organization said.

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Washington is one of many states with non-medical exemptions.

Ukraine reported the highest number of measles cases past year - more than 10 times that of the next highest, Serbia.

Measles infections in Europe hit a decade high in 2018, despite more children than ever before receiving vaccinations. Joan Robinson, a pediatric infectious diseases physician and editor of the Paediatrics & Child Health Journal, said that outbreaks often occur in small communities where children aren't vaccinated.

Only two provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick, require children to have updated vaccination records in order to enter school. There have been calls in recent years for Canada to start a national registry to help officials keep better track of vaccination rates.

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But it's a snapshot of the scare an outbreak can cause, said Dr. Alan Melnick, the Clark County health officer overseeing the response.

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