KFL&A Public Health encourages up-to-date measles vaccines following global increase in cases

KFL&A Public Health. Photo by Lucas Mulder/Kingstonist.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health has released a statement, encouraging all residents to ensure they are up-to-date on their measles immunizations, following an increase in measles cases globally.

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection with symptoms including red rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and fatigue. According to Public Health, it spreads through the air and close contact, such as breathing, coughing or sneezing. Vaccines are highly effective in preventing the spread of measles.

“Most people in the KFL&A region are immune to measles as a result of past illness or as a result of being immunized against measles,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza, medical officer of health at KFL&A Public Health. “Although the risk of contracting measles is low, it is important that we are immunized to safeguard public health.”

The best protection against measles is immunization with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine, the local health agency stated.

Kingstonist inquired with Public Health as to whether there have been any confirmed cases locally. In response, Erin Sills, Communications and Public Relations Specialist for KFL&A Public Health stated that there are no local cases in the region.

“We are aware of two measles cases in the Toronto area,” she shared.

According to the statement, due to high levels of measles circulating before 1970, those born before 1970 are generally presumed to have acquired immunity due to infection in their childhood. Anyone born in 1970 or later who has not had measles or been vaccinated with two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) can become infected.

KFL&A Public Health is recommending that residents check their own immunization records and that of their families. All travelers likewise are encouraged to review immunization records prior to travel.

“If measles immunization is not up-to-date, get immunized at least two weeks ahead of travel date. Infants six to 11 months of age who are travelling to areas with measles transmission should receive one dose of measles vaccine. Individuals with one dose of measles vaccine should consult their healthcare provider prior to travel,” KFL&A Public Health advised.

According to the health agency, the measles vaccine, typically administered as part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine series, is safe, effective and available through your health care provider. Those who do not have a healthcare provider may be able to receive the vaccine at a KFL&A Public Health clinic.

For more information about measles and vaccination, visit kflaph.ca/Measles.

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