Joint Statement by Ontario's Health Minister and Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health on Measles in Ontario
Today Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and Dr. Robin Williams, Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement on the measles cases in Ontario:
"In the last two weeks, eight cases of measles have been confirmed in Ontario. So far, there are no known common sources of exposure and currently they are not known to be linked to the cases in the United States.
While the risk to the general public is low, measles is highly contagious. It is important for people to be fully immunized against this serious disease; it's the best way to prevent measles and its spread. We are urging Ontarians to ensure all their immunizations for measles and those of their children are up-to-date, not only to protect them from this disease, but those around them. Parents who do not get their kids immunized are putting other children at risk.
Adults born in 1970 or later require two doses for optimal protection, depending on their age and level of risk. Individuals born before 1970 are generally presumed to be immune from measles. Currently, it is recommended that children should have the first dose at 12 months and a second dose when they are four to six years old, preferably before they start school.
The science is clear and there is indisputable evidence that the measles vaccine is both safe and effective. There is overwhelming evidence and consensus among health professionals in support of vaccinations. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure that they and their loved ones are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.
Immunization is important as measles is a highly contagious viral infection that is spread through the air from person to person through coughing or sneezing. It can be spread by someone who does not appear ill. All Ontarians are eligible for measles vaccination, according to the Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules in Ontario.
We will continue to work closely with Public Health Ontario and local public health units to monitor measles cases in the province. For further information about measles and measles immunization, or if you are not sure about your immunization status and are looking to get vaccinated, contact your health care provider or call your local public health unit.
If you plan to travel abroad, consult your health care provider in advance of travel so you and those travelling with you--especially young children--have sufficient time to become immunized and protected.
If you think that you or a family member has measles, contact your health care provider immediately. Be sure to call ahead to let them know that you are coming and that you suspect that you may have measles so that appropriate precautions can be taken."