SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Toronto Public Health (TPH) opened a one-day measles clinic at the West End YMCA today (Monday, Feb. 9) after its daycare discovered it had been exposed to the virus recently.
Staff, parents and children who come to the daycare were offered the free MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, from 7:30 a.m. to noon and again from 3 to 6 p.m. at the YMCA located at 931 College St.
The clinic was not open to the public, however the vaccine is publicly funded.
“Whenever we have an exposure to a daycare, a school or a health setting then we’ll do a contact follow up to ensure that especially young children are protected,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, an associate medical officer of health with TPH, told The Villager.
“In particular for this daycare if the children don’t get two doses of the vaccine they will be excluded from the daycare.”
Dubey was unable to speak to the specifics of the case regarding who caused the exposure, but did say “there certainly was an exposure of a case that was at the daycare.”
According to Dubey, since 2011 the procedure has been for infants to be given the MMR vaccine at 12 months and another between 4 and 6 years old.
One dose of the vaccine provides 5 per cent protection against the virus, but if a second dose is taken the protection percentage increases to 95 per cent, said Dubey.
The YMCA released a statement stating: “The YMCA of Greater Toronto currently has no confirmed cases of the measles in our facilities. As Toronto Public Health works to provide vaccinations for measles in the city, we are currently operating a private vaccination clinic for our childcare members at our West End YMCA location. The health, safety and security of members at the YMCA are our first priority and we will continue to provide information to members as needed.”
The City of Toronto has been dealing with a measles outbreak since January and has been investigating six lab confirmed cases of the measles in four adults and two children under the age of two. Although the cases are in different families, Dubey said it is the same strand of the virus circulating.
“Four out of the six cases in Toronto have the same Genotype,” Dubey said.
“It means they have the same genetic fingerprint so to speak, so they’re all related somehow even though we haven’t been able to find a link between them.”
Infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are susceptible to the virus and can become very ill.
Those showing symptoms should call their health care provider. Do not go to any medical office or facility without telling them before the appointment that you think that you may have measles.