SIMCOE March 9th, 2015 Vaccines are one of the best ways to protect your family, friends and the wider community against potentially serious infections. With the recent clusters noted across North America of vaccine preventable diseases, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit it wants to ensure you are informed and protected.
Measles has become a recent concern in Ontario. The World Health Organization reports that measles is one of the leading causes of vaccine preventable death amongst young children. Measles is one of the most infectious diseases in humans and is spread predominantly through air when someone inhales the throat or nasal discharges from an infected person. The virus is so infectious because it can live for up to two hours in the air where an infected person has coughed or sneezed. “Like many other infectious diseases, people who have already been infected but still have yet to start showing symptoms can still transmit the virus,” said Stacey Guthrie, Infection Control Practitioner for the HNHU. “We need to take this disease seriously,” added Guthrie. “Measles can lead to serious complications including pneumonia, brain damage and even death.” Pregnant women are also at risk of low birth weight, premature birth and miscarriage if infected. “Even though the chance of death is 1 in 1000, that’s one too many for us,” said Rose Huyge, Program Coordinator for Clinical Services at the HNHU. “We always consider a vaccine-preventable death to be such a tragedy especially in Canada where there is a free and effective vaccine available.”
Prior to the introduction of the free measles vaccine, Canada experienced approximately 14 000 reported cases of Measles every year. Statistics from 2002-2012 show a significant decrease, with an average of about 100 cases reported each year and some years even had less than 20 cases reported. While cases have decreased with the availability of a free vaccine, there are still clusters popping up across the world. “Diseases are only a flight away,” said Huyge. “It’s important we understand this and remain vigilant in protecting ourselves.”
With recent measles activity in Ontario and to ensure community protection, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be hosting immunization clinics on Tuesday, March 17th in Simcoe and Wednesday, March 18th in Caledonia.
You can book an appointment at one of the clinics to obtain vaccine(s) you may have missed in the past or have not considered getting before. Please call a member of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Team at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 for more information and to save a spot.