Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Protect yourself from measles, get vaccinated before travelling during March Break advises Toronto public health

Toronto (Mar 6)- Toronto Public Health (TPH) recommends that anyone planning to travel over March Break should ensure they and their families are protected against measles before leaving.

Due to a decline in measles vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, health authorities have reported a significant increase in measles outbreaks globally with recent cases of measles reported in Toronto, York Region, Peel Region and Brant County.

Toronto’s top doctor Eileen De Villa says that with March Break approaching, it is a good time for everyone to check their immunization status and ensure they are fully vaccinated against measles, especially before travelling.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can spread easily to others. Anyone who has not had two doses of a measles vaccine such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) or Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella (MMRV) or has not had measles in the past is at risk of infection.

All Ontarians are eligible for free measles vaccination. School-aged children can catch up on their routine vaccinations by booking an appointment at a community clinic or visiting their primary healthcare provider. The vaccine is also free for adults through primary care and some walk-in clinics.

Anyone suspecting measles exposure should check vaccination record to protect from measles. Those born before 1970 are considered immune as measles was widely circulating at that time. However, those who unsure about a previous measles infection or are travelling are encouraged to get one dose of MMR vaccine for the best protection.

Anyone born in 1970 or later requires two doses of measles vaccinations or proof of immunity through a blood test. Individuals who are unsure of their vaccination status are asked to check with their healthcare provider.

Symptoms of measles can include a high fever, cold-like symptoms, cough, runny nose, small spots with white centres inside the mouth, sore eyes, sensitivity to light and a red blotchy rash lasting four to seven days.

Seek medical care if symptoms arise particularly after travel or exposure to a measles-infected person, TPH said in its advisory. Call ahead to clinics for precautionary measures and testing. Do not attend work or school. Remain watchful for symptoms even if vaccinated against measles. Follow medical advice promptly for proper care and containment.

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