Montreal

Quebec hit by measles outbreak

Public health officials in the Quebec City region are dealing with a minor outbreak of the measles.

Public health officials in the Quebec City region are dealing with a minor outbreak of the measles.

Of the 36 cases reporting in the province, 19 are in the capital region, and officials are now warning people who have not been vaccinated for measles to make an appointment.

The vaccination rate in Quebec is 95 per cent, according to Dr. Horatio Arruda, the head of prevention for Quebec's public health department.

Arruda said he didn't expect the current outbreak to spread, as it did in the 1989 measles epidemic when 10,000 Quebecers became sick and several died.

The Americas were declared 'measle-free' in 2002, and in Quebec, there are usually only one or two cases of measles a year, according to the health ministry's website.

Officials said the disease was brought to Canada by people who travelled to France, where 4,937 cases of measles were reported between January and March.

The U.N. health agency is blaming the European outbreak on the failure to vaccinate all children.

France has a vaccination rate of 60 per cent.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that is spread from person to person by droplets and direct contact with nasal and throat secretions from an infected person.

People who get measles generally recover fully after 10 days of sickness, but there can be complications.

They include pneumonia and diarrhea, and can be more severe for infants, the elderly and pregnant women.

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