You've seen the titles, read the reviews, and watched the hysteria built.
Dr. Moika Naous, MD, Director of the Communicable Diseases and Immunization Services in the UK. Center for Disease Control, explains exactly what the big deal is.
"There is no cure for measles, so if you take measles is your own body that needs to heal you," Naus said.
Measles are a virus, so antibiotics do not work. According to Naus, the most modern medicine can do for you helps with healing, but your body has to cope with the infection itself.
"If your lungs are full of measles virus and you are in respiratory failure, you can place a snorker," Naus said. "If you have cerebral measles infection … they can give you steroids to reduce swelling – but it really depends on you to cure yourself."
Measles are an extremely contagious virus that spreads through airborne transmission, making it much easier to contract.
"You do not need direct contact, you do not have to share spit, kiss, share – it's airborne, so it's much more contagious."
Because measles can spread so easily to sensitive populations, it can cause too many cases.
"When you have a high number of cases, you also end up with a large number of complicated cases," said Naus.
Measles can infect any part of the body and severe infection occurs when the virus spreads to the lungs or brain of a person.
According to Naus, there is a debate about how fatal the measles are, but it is estimated that one in 300 cases of North America results in death.
In 1996, Canada approved the aim of eradicating measles as part of the Inter-American Health Organization, because it was increasingly recognized that measles eradication was feasible.
"We get imported cases, sometimes a visitor or a Canadian who returns from abroad and most of the time there is no later transmission if the people around them are vaccinated," Naus said. "If they go to a group of people with sensitive people when we see the transmission."
According to Naus, measles continues to be a major problem worldwide, especially when children are malnourished in conjunction with minimal treatment available, the virus still kills hundreds of thousands of children worldwide.
Naus said, while it is possible to eradicate measles, requires a requirement from the public to vaccinate and prevent the spread of the disease.
"There are people who believe that general health, nutrition and exercise are adequate," Naus said. "Yes – all this helps your immune system, but it does not give you special immunity."
The recent outbreak has been confined to a small group of schools in Vancouver and according to Naus no cases have been reported since Valentine's Day.
"The incubation period for measles is up to 21 days, so we will not know if there will be any additional cases until March 7," said Naos.
For more information on how to vaccinate to protect against measles virus, visit the immunizebc.ca/finder website
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