Seven cases of measles con­firmed in Hal­i­fax

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON / PROVINCE -

Four more cases of measles have been con­firmed by health of­fi­cials in the Hal­i­fax area, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of known cases in Nova Sco­tia to seven.

Last week, the Nova Sco­tia Health Au­thor­ity no­ti­fied the pub­lic about three peo­ple who had be­come in­fected, say­ing it was the first time in nine years that the highly con­ta­gious in­fec­tion had been re­ported.

In an up­date Thurs­day, the med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health, Dr. Trevor Ar­na­son, said all of the cur­rent cases in­volve young adults.

Ar­na­son said it’s not sur­pris­ing that more cases have been found given how con­ta­gious the virus is.

“At the same time, it’s a pos­i­tive sign that the num­ber re­mains low and we’ve had good suc­cess fol­low­ing up with con­tacts of in­di­vid­u­als who have con­tracted measles,’’ Ar­na­son said in a news re­lease.

He said the risk to the gen­eral pub­lic re­mained low and that most peo­ple are pro­tected by be­ing vac­ci­nated.

The au­thor­ity said of those peo­ple iden­ti­fied, “some were im­mu­nized fully or par­tially and some were not,’’ al­though no num­bers were pro­vided.

It noted peo­ple born in the 1970s to early 1990s may have re­ceived only one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vac­cine in child­hood and are el­i­gi­ble for a sec­ond dose of the vac­cine at no cost through a pub­licly funded im­mu­niza­tion pro­gram.

Ar­na­son said that as part of the au­thor­ity’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, some or­ga­ni­za­tions and busi­nesses have been made aware of in­for­ma­tion they can share with their staff and clients about measles symp­toms and about what to do if they de­velop into an in­fec­tion.

“It’s im­por­tant to quickly iden­tify those who have symp­toms so that pre­cau­tions can be taken to pre­vent the spread of measles and fol­low up with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble who may have been ex­posed,’’ he said. “This also gives us an op­por­tu­nity to look at im­mu­niza­tion his­tory and sup­port in­di­vid­u­als in get­ting vac­cines up to date.’’

In an email, the au­thor­ity said vac­ci­na­tion has been shown to be highly ef­fec­tive, with the ef­fi­cacy of a sin­gle dose given at 12 or 15 months of age es­ti­mated to be 85 to 95 per cent. With a sec­ond dose, the ef­fec­tive­ness for chil­dren approaches 100 per cent.

It said out­breaks do oc­cur in pop­u­la­tions with high im­mu­niza­tion cov­er­age rates, and at least 95 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion needs to be im­mu­nized to de­velop herd im­mu­nity.

Measles symp­toms can in­clude fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, sleepi­ness, ir­ri­tabil­ity, small white spots on the in­side of the mouth and throat, and a blotchy rash on the face that spreads down the body.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.