Measles outbreak in Philippines prompts Public Health to issue warning

Spencer Underwood
February 22, 2019

"So that may draw immunization rates down", said Mema. With numbers growing every minute, it looks as though people are taking the idea of mandatory preventable measures extremely seriously.

"I think youth have adapted along with the Internet and have a better sense of which sources are reliable, and with so much information there now, can compare information easily", she said.

The conversation about vaccination and the anti-vaccination movement is now at the forefront of BC health-related news because of the measles outbreak in Vancouver.

Nine measles cases have been confirmed in Vancouver so far this year, and Washington state has declared a state of emergency due to a measles outbreak unfolding there.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air. The rash usually starts four days after the other symptoms.

There has also been one confirmed measles case in King County, Washington, and four cases in Multnomah County, Oregon.

"I've heard of people throughout Canada and even doctors around the world saying that millennials are using these outbreaks as an opportunity to revisit the decision that their parents had made for them", he said.

"While there are some people who are expressing opposition to immunization, and others who can't be immunized for medical reasons, some people simply fall through the cracks of the system", Mr. Dix told reporters.

Ontario and New Brunswick have what is basically mandatory registration at school entry, Dix said.

Washington now allows vaccination exemptions for children at public or private schools or licensed day-care centers based on medical, religious and personal or philosophical beliefs.

"What we are doing now is health center-based, which is phase one of the immunization for children from six-month-old to five-year-old; school-based, which is phase two for children above five-year-old; and home or health center-based, which is the third phase for adult", he added.

Asked about why he offered no commitment or timeline for mandatory reporting, Dix said certain procedures must be in place first.

"That is something that we've known for a long time, and we are making efforts there to try to address that".

The number of people with measles in Clark County continues to climb.

She continued, this is an ongoing outbreak in the Philippines and as of February 11, 2019, their health department reported about 4,300 measles cases, about 70 dead and that's from the time period of January 1, 2019 to February 9, 2019. It said data shows 83 per cent of babies born in 2016 had received at least one dose of MMR, noting that all vaccinations are registered and officials believe the rate is actually between 85 and 90 per cent.

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