We need to re-learn how to spot and treat the Measles: Ottawa Public Health

About 50 people have contacted Ottawa Public Health after the agency issued a warning about possible contact with the Measles virus last week.

New cases could develop up until April 11 in this current case.

Rrecent outbreaks nationwide and small cases in Ottawa have forced people, both parents and physicians, to re-learn how dangerous Measles can be.

For decades there has been indirect immunity to Measles in North America, meaning enough people had been vaccinated to protect the people who, for medical reasons, couldn not be immunized.

But now the infectious disease is once again a reality and Ottawa Public Health's Dr. Rosamund Lewis said it's meant a major re-education.

"We take for granted that we can, that we are well-nourished, that we are healthy, that we can fight off any infection but some infections just are severe, we know that they are," she said.

She said because we've forgotten just how dangerous the Measles can be Public Health has had to remind parents, and doctors, just how severe the disease can be and that one in 1,000 cases can be fatal.

They use internal channels and good connections with local physicians to remind them how to prevent the disease spreading within their offices.

They have also been reminding parents what to look for so the disease can be identified early.

"It's got classic symptoms with fever, red eyes, runny nose, which progress into a rash which starts on the face and the head and the neck and then progresses down toward the body, arms and legs. It sometimes resolves on its own eventually but in some cases it can lead to severe complications," said Lewis.

She said society has become complacent in recent years, neglecting to vaccinate their children and forgetting how dangerous the disease can be.

Lewis said neglecting immunization is particularly harmful for those with medical reasons they can't receive a vaccine, like severe immune deficiencies, and for infants under 12 months old.

Moms who have been vaccinated can help protect their babies by breastfeeding which helps pass some antibodies they've developed on to their children until they're old enough to receive the vaccine.

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