LGL health unit urges kids get measles vaccines ahead of March Break travel

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Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer recently issued a statement urging Canadians to ensure they are up to date with their measles vaccination ahead of the upcoming March Break. The concern stems from a global increase in measles activity coupled with a decline in vaccine coverage among Canadian school-aged children, potentially leading to an influx of imported measles cases and subsequent transmission within Canadian communities.

Vaccination with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine is emphasized as the most effective protection against measles, with nearly 100 per cent efficacy in preventing infection. As of Feb. 23, Canada has reported six measles cases, some requiring hospitalization, predominantly among unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children who have travelled internationally.

“Although there have not been any cases of measles in the LGL region, we are preparing for the risk of local cases when people return from travel abroad,” says Dr. Linna Li, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit. “The measles vaccine is safe and effective, and is the best way for people to prevent measles.”

The Health Unit is organizing four immunization clinics specifically for the measles vaccine before March Break, catering to families with imminent travel plans. Appointments will be scheduled following assessment by a health unit nurse.

Families intending to travel within the next three to four weeks and who have incomplete measles immunization are encouraged to contact the health unit via phone (1-800-660-5853. Ext 2313 ) or email (ImmunizationNursingSupport@healthunit.org) to arrange for vaccination. Other individuals are advised to consult their healthcare providers for guidance on measles immunization.

Measles, a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus, poses significant health risks, particularly to young children and pregnant individuals. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a characteristic rash. Suspected cases should prioritize wearing a mask, limiting contact with others, and promptly seeking medical attention while traveling or upon return to Canada.

For further information on measles and vaccination, individuals are directed to the health unit’s website.

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