Lab tests rule out measles in Elliot Lake child: Algoma Public Health

The Algoma Public Health Unit says further tests have ruled out measles in an Elliot Lake child.

The Algoma Public Health Unit says further tests have ruled out measles in an Elliot Lake child.

It said test results confirm that the measles virus isolated from the child are from the vaccine strain of the virus.

It adds the child had been immunized against measles, but was not contagious to others.

Acting medical officer of health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe said it’s highly likely the illness was caused by another virus.

“There are a number of childhood viruses that cause elevated temperatures and rashes and we may never know what caused illness in this child,” she said.

“The child was immunized in the fall, making the chances very low that test would show the vaccine virus still present.”

The health unit said the vaccine for measles contains a weakened strain of the virus. Post-vaccination testing may show the measles vaccine virus is present, it said, however, that does not mean the person has measles.

It added after receiving a vaccination, about 5 per cent of children feel unwell and sometimes have a rash. It said this usually happens between 6 and twenty-three days after immunization.

“It was very reasonable to presume that this was a case of the measles and act right away in order to protect people,” Dr. Shelley Deeks, medical director of immunization and vaccine-preventable diseases at Public Health Ontario said.

“Measles is the most infectious vaccine preventable disease and only timely follow up by public health and quick access to immunization will halt its spread.”

‘Breathing a sigh of relief’

The Algoma Health Unit said it acted in accordance with provincial guidelines on Feb. 22 when it announced a child was believed to have measles. The child had visited the emergency room at St. Joseph’s General Hospital several times, and also attends a local daycare.

The health unit said the public was notified to ensure they were protected against measles.

It said all suspected measles cases have specimens sent to the national microbiology lab in Winnipeg for analysis. On Friday, Feb 27, the health unit received the test results to confirm “there is no evidence of wild-type measles virus circulating in Elliot Lake.”

“These test results are very good news and we are breathing a sigh of relief that measles is not circulating in the community,” Sutcliffe said.

“Individuals who were excluded from daycare and health care can now return to these settings.”


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