Amid measles outbreak, Islanders debate mandatory vaccinations

Posted February 23, 2019

However, measles can result in complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. Unless an exemption is claimed, a child is required to be vaccinated against or show proof of acquired immunity for almost a dozen diseases - including polio, whooping cough and mumps - before they can attend school or a child care center.

When an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes, the virus spreads through the air and can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours.

Of the 63 cases confirmed in Clark County, 55 were not immunized against measles, immunization status couldn't be verified for six cases, and two cases involved a child who had received only a single dose of the MMR vaccine.

Symptoms of measles include fever, reddening of the eyes, cough and colds, and red rashes, the agency added.

Health advocates are pushing lawmakers for vaccine legislation amid a measles outbreak in Texas and other states.

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"At any given time, Interior Health's communicable disease unit does get reports of individuals who have potentially been exposed to measles due to travel to other parts of the country and world where measles may be present", Mema said, pointing out the health authority has reports of a small number of individuals who may have been exposed to measles outside of IH.

Caroline Quach, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Ste-Justine Hospital, said Quebec could do even more to make sure adults and children have every opportunity to be vaccinated.

Despite no new confirmed cases in the last few days, the recent measles outbreak in Vancouver is sparking debate on if vaccinations should be mandatory in this province.

"The measles vaccine isn't flawless, but one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing illness", Melnick said in a separate statement on Wednesday.

Through herd immunity, even people who can not get vaccinated will have some protection from getting sick.

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Most people in Kansas are fully vaccinated against measles.

Recent measles outbreaks outside of the province have prompted health officials in Alberta to encourage parents to take measures to ensure their children are protected against the disease. They aim to vaccinate 12 to 14 million children.

"Traditionally, school entry requirements have been the role of the states, so there might be a constitutional challenge if the federal government tried to mandate by law those school requirements", he said.

Katie Clunn of Maple Ridge, B.C., who started the online petition, said vaccination is not only about protecting one's own children, but "others as well".

"When people get vaccinated, they are protecting themselves and their community".

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"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.