I would like to present some perspective to the immunization debate so that people who wonder what they should do do not make a mistake that costs children their lives.
Most recently the news has been of measles. Measles is a terrible disease that kills approximately 700,000 people, mostly children, every year in this world. In the 1990 measles outbreak in the United States approximately 27,000 people got the measles and the mortality rate was 0.3 per cent. That’s 81 people that died of the measles that year in the U.S.
When the immunization rate drops it doesn’t just affect those who choose not to be immunized. Measles outbreaks occur in under-immunized populations as we have seen in Alberta and the Fraser Valley. This puts all children six to 12 months of age at risk. This is a vulnerable period because immunity from the mother wains at this time and the standard immunization protocol does not give the measles vaccine until 12 months of age.
For that reason Alberta Health, as of May 2, has issued a travel advisory for B.C. residents travelling to Edmonton, Calgary and central Alberta. If travelling with a child six to 12 months of age, the child should receive the measles vaccine. Please see the travel advisory at www.bccdc.ca/resourcematerials/newsandalerts/healthalerts/2014healthalerts/MeaslesAlberta.htm.
Dr. Dave McBeath