Slight increase in MMR vaccinations follow after confirmed measles case

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"Our pharmacists have seen an increase in demand from patients wanting to get MMR vaccines", said pharmacist Linda Gutenberg, Deputy CEO of the B.C. Pharmacy Association.

Measles, a unsafe disease that was all but wiped out almost two decades ago due to widespread vaccinations, is making a comeback worldwide, including in North Carolina.

Saskatchewan now does not have a confirmed measles case, and has not had one since 2014 when there was 16 reported cases.

Japan, with 170 reported cases since the start of the year, is battling its worst outbreak in more than a decade. It is a serious issue as the measles is the highly contagious and infectious disease.

The local Health agency also vowed to strengthen its information campaign on vaccination by allocating budget for the procurement and use of injection devices and vaccines for all life stages including infants, adolescents, and senior citizens.

The Department of Health has declared measles outbreak in five regions in the Philippines, including Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Western and Central Visayas.

And about 1 out of 4 people who get measles will be hospitalized.

The CDC recommends that all children get the measles-mumps-rubella shot (MMR). And 1 out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling due to infection (encephalitis), which may lead to brain damage. "Unfortunately this will mean some measles or pertussis deaths".

Medical professionals warn that an unvaccinated or immune person who shares close space with an infected person who sneezes or coughs has a 90 percent chance of contracting measles.

"We risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating but entirely preventable disease", Soumya Swaminathan, a deputy director general at the World Health Organization, said in a recent statement .

Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, who is a doctor, called for mobile public health units and widespread vaccinations to anyone who might have already been exposed to measles in a process called Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). Most recently, a measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest prompted health officials to declare a public health emergency in the state of Washington.

"It's extremely important that people understand that measles vaccine, like all the vaccines that we have, undergo rigorous ongoing scientific safety evaluations", says Professor Katherine O'Brien from the Department of International Health and Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"There is a group of people out there who, even if you take as much science as is available, you won't change their minds".

Most states also allow exemptions for religious reasons, and 17 states, including Washington and Texas, allow exemptions for both religious and personal or philosophical beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. North Carolina has endured chicken pox outbreaks in 2016, 2017 and 2018, including one last November that afflicted 36 students at an Asheville school with a high concentration of vaccine exemptions. Most states have regulations about vaccinations as a requirement for school attendance.

An Angus Reid Institute public opinion survey released last week showed 70 per cent of Canadians think vaccinations against measles and other deadly diseases should be a must for kids entering school. Those came mostly from western North Carolina.

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