Ontario records its first measles death in decades

Ontario has recorded its first measles death in nearly 35 years. We're learning a young child from the city of Hamilton has passed away in hospital, and this comes as case counts continue to rise. This is an infection associated with with morbidity and sadly, mortality as well. Due to successful immunization programs, measles was eliminated from Canada back in 1998, but with the eruption of cases worldwide and falling vaccination rates, Ontario has now matched A10 year high. Infectious diseases specialist doctor Isaac Bogos says this is one of the most contagious viruses out there. It's preventable and can have serious and tragic outcomes. So if you look at the Ontario data of about 1/3 of the cases in in, children were hospitalized. If you look at the American data for just a 2024 data, about half of the people infected with measles were were hospitalized. According to Public Health Ontario, there have been 22 confirmed cases so far this year. 13 in children and nine in adults. 15 cases were associated with travel, five children have been hospitalized and in that Group One did not survive and the majority of those who caught the virus were not vaccinated. The whole goal here is when we see those inevitable cases imported into Canada that we don't see subsequent transmission within this country. And we can do that by really lowering barriers to measles vaccine, making sure that people who are eligible for the vaccine get their vaccination. Ontario is still playing catch up on routine vaccinations that many children miss during the pandemic. And health officials are warning that it could take years to catch up. The Toronto Public Health unit began targeting elementary students back in the winter. The Immunization School Pupils Act, which is provincial legislation, requires students to be vaccinated or they can be suspended. So we've actually restarted that. The federal Minister of Health has also expressing concern over the rise in measles in the first five months of 202475 cases have been confirmed across the country. That's more than six times the number recorded in all of last year. We're seeing a lot of a lot of illness that was almost rendered non existent starting to come back because of vaccine hesitancy. We have to depoliticize health information. There should be no partisanship in following the best health advice that's rooted in science and evidence. So the message right now from healthcare officials is to make sure that you and your children are up to date on immunizations. One thing to note is that the 2nd dose of the measles vaccine was only introduced in the 1990s, so right now there are grown-ups adults walking around not realizing. That they may not be fully vaccinated, so people are being encouraged to check in with their health care professionals. Shauna Hunt, City News.

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