Hoskins says Torontonians should not be 'alarmed' over recent measles cases
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 3, 2015 12:50PM EST
Ontario’s health minister is urging Ontarians not to be ‘alarmed’ over the recent cases of measles in Toronto.
Four confirmed cases of the infection are currently under investigation by Toronto Public Health. The cases involve two children under two years old and two adults from different families, health officials said Monday.
“It is really, really important that Ontarians and Torontonians not be alarmed. This is not an unusual occurrence,” Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
According to Hoskins, last year between January and March, there were 11 confirmed cases of measles in the province.
Symptoms of measles, a highly contagious viral infection that spreads through air droplets, include fever, rash, cough, red watery eyes and a runny nose.
Health officials say most people with measles are ill for up to 10 days before making a full recovery.
Immunization against measles is required at schools and Hoskins said that 96 per cent of 17-year-old Ontario students are vaccinated.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education says the Immunization of School Pupils Act requires medical officers of health to maintain immunization records for each primary and secondary school student in their area.
Students must be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, varicella, and invasive meningococcal disease unless a “valid medical exemption or statement of religious or conscientious objection is provided.”
During Tuesday’s news conference, Hoskins reiterated the importance of having children vaccinated for the protection of the community at large.
“The way that we prevent it from spreading is by having as many (people), children particularly, protected,” he said.
When asked if the province will make vaccination mandatory for everyone, Hoskins said there aren’t “any plans to change our current policy.”