A recent case of measles popping in Edmonton has AHS on the offensive, reminding Albertans to make sure their immunization records are up to date. North Zone Medical Officer of Health Dr. Albert de Villiers says just because a certain disease is no longer prominent in North America doesn’t mean you should forgo vaccination.
“We haven’t had measles for a while, and now all of a sudden measles is coming back. Luckily we haven’t had any polio up here, but there’s still some polio in certain countries, and if you go there and come back, or there’s an immigrant coming back, or you go visit your friends and relatives back there and you come back, you might bring it.”
He says measles vaccinations have proven to be the best possible preventive measure.
“If you look at the outbreak we had in the south, I think it was 99% of the people who actually got sick were not vaccinated. It was in a community that didn’t vaccinate specifically , and that’s why they got sick. People that got vaccinated that mixed with them didn’t get sick so it proves two things, that if you don’t get the vaccine you’re going to get the disease, if you get the vaccine it actually works.”
de Villiers says people often bank on herd immunity, but that will not protect everyone. He says only about 60% of Grande Prairie children have received both the shots necessary to be fully immunized against measles.