The chief medical officer of health in New Brunswick, Dr. Jennifer Russel, announced that the measles epidemic in the province is now over. The chief reported that there were no crucial cases and no deaths.
The epidemic started back in April. The disease spread to 11 people in the Saint John area, with the last case reported on May the 31st.
Russel commented that there are measles outbreaks all over the world, including Europe and the U.S. People that are traveling can get the disease and bring it to the community. The chief mentioned her team at Public Health and other representatives with the Health and Education departments for their work in managing to control the outbreak to only 12 people.
Throughout the epidemic, Public Health representatives called around 7,500 people who may have had contact with the reported cases and gave vaccines to 2,370 people at 12 specialized immunization clinics.
To officially announce the end of an epidemic, Health Canada instructions recommend a minimum of 32 days passes after the rash onset date of the last reported case linked with the outbreak.
Measles is a contagious disease that can be contacted by sneezing and coughing. In some cases, it can lead to complications such as pneumonia and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Most people are protected from the disease by being immunized with two doses of vaccine. In New Brunswick, the vaccine is free for babies aged 12 and 18 months, also for children born in 2009 and later who have not gotten the previous two doses.
Russel said that her team did more during the epidemic. They vaccinated people even if they had been previously given two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine. They got a third does if they were among those who entered contact with the cases. Those people were made to get the vaccine within 72 hours.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.