March 21, 2014 - 11:49 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - With about 90 per cent of Kindergarten students vaccinated against measles, we appear to be well protected if the the outbreak hitting the Lower Mainland makes its way into the Thompson-Okanagan.
The Interior Health Authority says there are no confirmed or suspected cases in the region, but staff are stepping up communications and reminding people to get vaccinated.
It is recommended children get their first vaccination at 12 months of age and a booster when entering Kindergarten. While sometimes it is medically necessary to not get the vaccination due to allergies, other people choose to not vaccinate their children for other reasons.
“We always want people to get immunized, it's medically recommended,” Communications Officer Michaela Swan says. “But some people choose not to for religious or philosophical reasons.”
Swan says Interior Health is continuing to monitor the situation closely. As of Thursday the Fraser Health Authority was reporting 80-100 cases in the Fraser East area.
By the end of the last school year, about 93 per cent of Kindergarten age children in the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap region had two doses of the vaccine. About 87 per cent of children in the Okanagan region are also up to date when it comes to measles vaccinations. The Fraser East area where the outbreak has happened had an 88 per cent vaccination rate, just above the provincial average.
People looking to be vaccinated, or with questions about vaccinations, should contact their public health unit or speak with their doctor. More information can be found on the Interior Health website.
What is Measles?
Measles (red measles) is a severe illness caused by the measles virus. Measles spreads easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The measles virus can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours. The airborne spread of measles virus makes the disease very contagious.
Symptoms of Measles
The symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes (often sensitive to light). These are followed 3-7 days later by a rash, which starts first on the face and neck, and spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts at least 3 days. You may also notice spots inside your mouth that look like small grains of sand on a red base.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014