Measles

by drnieman on July 29, 2013

in News

It is my honor to be asked about the latest outbreaks of measles.

On July 29, 2013 I shall make these points on CTV Morning live:

1. Measles is very contagious and spreads via droplets. It infects mainly those who were not vaccinated at 12 months or those who did not get booster shots between 4 and 5 years of age. About 200 million cases occur each year world wide. Keep this in mind when you travel with an unimmunized child.

2. We see few cases in North America because:

— if more than 90% of the individuals aged one year got the vaccine it protects those who were not vaccinated–this is called the herd effect.

3. The rash is very typical (a red rash starting by the face and spreading downwards to the rest of the body. In the mouth we see the typical Koplik spots. There is also a fever, coughing and red eyes. (Use Google Images for great pictures)

4.  According to the Mayo Clinic site, complications of measles are:

—encephalitis (brain inflammation), coma, and convulsions.

—pneumonia, bronchitis, laryngitis, croup.

—ear infections.

—pregnant women may experience a loss of the pregnancy or premature labor.

5. The treatment is supportive (fluids, rest and fever control) Do not use aspirin because it may cause liver or brain damage (Rye Syndrome) Vitamin A supplementation may also help.

6. In Canada close to 84% of all kids are vaccinated. This ranks Canada at #28 out of 29 industrialized countries. The number of 84% is expected to drop in future.

7. Parents who worry about side effects of vaccines are increasing in number. I shall discuss why that is so. For info on vaccine safety see a resource from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of public Health at www.vaccinesafety.edu

 

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