measles toronto

Toronto Public Health is investigating a case of travel-related measles

A case of measles has been confirmed in Toronto this week, which our public health agency believes to be the first in Ontario in 2019.

Toronto Public Health confirmed in an email to doctors to keep an eye out for measles symptoms in patients. Symptoms can include high fever, coughing, rashes, and more. 

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vinita Dubey is warning that the case involves an infant who returned to Canada from an international trip, and that some people may have been exposed. 

Toronto Public Health says the exposures may have occurred at the following places: 

  • Scarborough Health Network on February 28 between 5:12 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. at the Birchmount Site emergency department.
  • The Huntingdale Medical Centre at 3061 Pharmacy Ave., between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on February 26 and 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on February 28.

Those who travelled through airports or other transportation hubs should not be overly concerned, Dubey says. The infant was most likely not contagious during travel. 

The infant may have been too young to be inoculated. However, health professionals are concerned that anti-vaccine movements are preventing herd immunity, which is a system of mass immunity if enough of the population is vaccinated.

This can only occur if the vaccination rate is above a high threshold, according to scientists. 

As more and more people decide to reject vaccines, this number falls below the threshold, preventing herd immunity from setting in. 

This may have been the cause of a recent measles outbreak in Vancouver, where 15 people have now been confirmed to have the disease. 

Health experts in Western Canada are attributing the sudden outbreak in part to anti-vaxx believers, lowering the possibility for herd immunity. 

Measles was eradicated in Canada in 1998, in large part due to vaccines becoming widespread. No link has ever been found between vaccines and autism, or other diseases they are claimed to cause by the anti-vaxx movement.

Lead photo by

Toronto Public Health


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