Government of Yukon

health_advisory_web


FOR RELEASE     #11-068
June 1, 2011


CMOH cautions Yukoners to ensure vaccines up to date if travelling

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, is pointing to an outbreak of measles affecting several regions in Quebec as a reminder to all Yukoners to check their vaccination status when contemplating travel, whether outside the country or outside the territory. Measles is an acute viral infection that is highly contagious and can have serious complications.

The Quebec outbreak is thought to have originated from visitors from France, where as in much of Europe, vaccination rates against measles, mumps, and rubella are much lower than in Canada. An increase in measles activity is occurring in several parts of the world, notably in several European countries as well as in Africa and Asia. For more detailed geographical information along with vaccine recommendations see the recent memo issued from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Given this measles outbreak, in addition to recent outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) and mumps in other areas, anyone considering travel outside Yukon or internationally is advised to be up to date with vaccinations, including measles vaccination. Any group tours travelling outside the territory should ensure that members are up to date with their vaccinations, particularly those that protect against diseases with outbreak potential such as measles, mumps, and pertussis.

People born before 1970 can generally be assumed to have natural immunity to measles, but people at higher risk such as health care workers and travellers need to take extra precautions and should check with their health care providers to ensure that they are protected. For adults born after 1970, two doses of MMR vaccine are required to ensure immunity.

All children should be protected by two doses of MMR vaccine. The first dose is given on or after the first birthday and the second dose should be given at 18 months of age. Parents with children who may not be up to date with their vaccinations can bring their children into their community health centre or Whitehorse Health Centre, especially if travel is being considered.

Yukon travellers can book a travel clinic appointment at their local health facility as early as possible in making their travel plans.

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Contact:

Dr. Brendan Hanley
Chief Medical Officer of Health
Health & Social Services
867-456-6136
Brendan.hanley@gov.yk.ca
Pat Living
Communications
Health & Social Services
867-667-3673
Patricia.living@gov.yk.ca 

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