Vaccines are 'a blessing,' says B.C. man quarantined after measles exposure
CTVNews.ca's Brooklyn Neustaeter, with a report from CTV Vancouver Island's Scott Cunningham
Published Friday, April 12, 2019 6:47AM EDT
A British Columbia man with a suppressed immune system is under a medical house arrest after being exposed to a patient with measles.
Victoria resident Jamie Cormier has been in quarantine for nearly two weeks after coming into close contact with a patient infected with measles.
"I can't even get the mail," he told CTV Vancouver Island's Scott Cunningham via video chat.
CTV Vancouver Island asked to go to Cormier’s house for an interview, but his doctors declined, saying it would put Cormier at risk.
While most vaccinated people are safe, Cormier's immune system is weakened due to anti-rejection drugs he must take as a result of a liver transplant 30 years ago. The daily regime of medicine makes him ineligible for the measles vaccine -- and highly susceptible to infection.
But Cormier says he would be worse off if he contracted measles.
"Because of my immunosuppression… I would be in much more danger if I caught the virus," said Cormier.
He says his quarantine is a perfect example of why vaccinations are so important.
"I envy the people who can get vaccinated," said Cormier. "Having that option -- even though they may not believe in [vaccines] -- is a blessing."
Cormier's doctors have advised him to remain quarantined for 21 days.
Measles is highly contagious, and the virus can live on surfaces and in the air for as long as two hours after an infected person has left.
According to Health Canada, young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk of getting measles. In certain cases, this can include patients who have already been vaccinated.
An Ottawa cancer survivor recently contracted measles while travelling overseas, even with having the vaccine. Doctors say her immune system had been weakened from past cancer operations.
Cormier says he is feeling healthy and his doctors don't believe he has been infected, but suggest he remain isolated in his home until April 14.
Southern Vancouver Island has had six cases of measles this year despite its high rate of immunization.
So far in 2019, there have been 28 cases of measles in Canada confirmed by Canada's public health agency.
South of the border, there have been 465 cases confirmed in the Unites States, with major outbreaks underway in Washington and New York City.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a public health emergency in the city, ordering mandatory vaccinations in a move that is unprecedented in recent history.
The World Health Organization estimates that measles vaccination has saved an approximately 17.1 million lives since 2000, but misinformation about vaccines has seen a rise in outbreaks of once widely-eradicated and preventable diseases.
Skepticism over the safety of vaccines primarily started after a widely discredited study was published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1997.