Increase in measles activity and importance of immunization

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The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is alerting the public to the global increase in measles activity and reminding people of the importance of routine vaccinations in protecting against illnesses. 

The World Health Organization reported in December 2023 that measles cases in Europe have increased 30-fold, and the Pan-American Health Organization has recently reported measles cases in the Americas, from travel to other countries. Four active cases of measles have been reported in Canada. While there are no active measles cases in the EOHU region, there are two cases in Ontario, in the Region of Peel and the City of Toronto.  

“As we approach March break and families finalize their travel plans, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of staying up to date on your routine immunizations.” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “While measles doesn’t normally circulate in Canada, it is currently circulating in other countries and can be acquired while travelling. Being vaccinated against it greatly decreases the chances of catching it and bringing it home with you.” 

In Ontario, children receive two doses of the measles (MMR) vaccine as part of the publicly funded immunization schedule. The first dose is given on or after their first birthday, and the second dose between the ages of 4 and 6 years old.

If you or your child are not up to date on your vaccinations, please contact your health care provider to receive missing immunizations. Residents without a health care provider can also receive their routine immunizations at the EOHU.

If you or a member of your family are experiencing symptoms of measles after returning home from travel or believe you may have been in contact with someone with measles, please contact your health care provider or the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120.

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