Responding to rising measles rates in Canada
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CMAJ Podcasts
Responding to rising measles rates in Canada
Jun 03, 2024
Canadian Medical Association Journal

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On this episode of the CMAJ Podcast, Dr. Blair Bigham and Dr. Mojola Omole tackle an unexpected yet urgent topic: the resurgence of measles. With rising cases globally and in Canada, they discuss the implications and necessary actions for healthcare professionals.

Dr. Sarah Wilson, a public health physician at Public Health Ontario, provides a comprehensive overview of the current measles situation. She explains the factors contributing to the increase in cases, including disruptions to immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic and preexisting trends in declining vaccine acceptance. Dr. Wilson also highlights the severe complications of measles, especially for vulnerable groups such as children under five, pregnant individuals, and those who are immunocompromised.

The conversation shifts to practical steps for healthcare providers. Dr. Wilson details the importance of considering measles in differential diagnoses for patients with fever and rash, particularly those with relevant exposure histories. She emphasizes the need for appropriate diagnostic testing and discusses the public health response, including the administration of immune globulins for high-risk contacts.

The key practical step for controlling measles is, of course, widespread immunization. Dr. Samira Jeimy, an assistant professor and the program director for the division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at Western University. She offers an overview of the vaccine including its effectiveness and safety, despite persistent misinformation. Dr. Jeimy explains the vaccination schedule for children and the importance of booster doses for adults, especially before travel to areas with active outbreaks. She also details the role of vaccination given within 72 hours of an exposure to reduce the risk of infection or lessen the severity of measles if infected.

Throughout the episode, the hosts and guests emphasize the need for improved communication and trust-building between healthcare providers and patients when addressing vaccine hesitancy.




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