10 Quebecers infected with measles were not vaccinated, say health officials
Published Wednesday, February 11, 2015 11:05AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 11, 2015 11:03PM EST
Ten people infected with measles in Quebec have now been linked with a larger U.S. outbreak that is believed to have spread at a theme park in southern California.
The Lanaudiere health authority confirmed in a statement that a Quebecer contracted the virus during a visit to a park in California, believed to be Disneyland.
The amusement park, located in Anaheim, has recently been linked to more than 100 measles cases across multiple U.S. states.
Now, two families in an area northeast of Montreal are fighting measles. The eight children and two adults have all been in close contact and live in the same area. The Lanaudiere health region covers Joliette, a city located approximately 73 kilometres from Montreal.
According to Quebec public health officials, none of the 10 infected had received measles vaccinations.
The statement did not provide details as to when the first case returned to Quebec or when the person fell ill.
In the latest cases in Quebec, officials say the children have not been to a school, and so exposure to other children was limited.
Regardless, local hospitals and clinics in the area are on high alert.
One pediatrician says patients continue to cite philosophical grounds and fear of side-effects as reasons to turn down the vaccination shot.
“What comes with reduced vaccination rates are increases in disease rates, so it’s not surprising to me at all,” Dr. Benjamin Burko told CTV News.
The fear remains despite a campaign in Quebec schools that followed a massive outbreak in the province in 2011. After near-eradication here and across Canada, lab tests that year confirmed 776 cases.
But the fear of complication from the measles -- pneumonia, deafness and perhaps even death -- was enough for moms like Melissa Kendrick of Winnipeg.
“The alternative of them being super sick and being in the hospital or possibly death -- the little poke is not a big deal,” Kendrick said.
As the outbreak spreads south of the border, there is growing public outrage over those commonly referred to as anti-vaxxers -- people who shun all vaccinations.
On Tuesday, an Ontario mother whose newborn baby had been exposed to measles in a doctor’s office took to Facebook to blast those who don’t have their children vaccinated.
This week, another case of measles was confirmed near Toronto, bringing the total tally of cases in Canada to 17. It’s believed that in the eight Ontario cases currently confirmed, the people contracted the virus in Canada -- none had recently left the country.
On Tuesday, Manitoba officials reported that a child who had recently returned from India was infected with measles.
With a report from CTV’s Genevieve Beauchemin and files from The Canadian Press