A new case of measles in Ottawa has sent the Ottawa Public Health department chasing after as many as fifty families, maybe more.
A young child was taken to Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with symptoms that turned out to be a measles infection. Apparently this case stemmed from international travel and was not "home-grown". Ottawa's public health agency is diligently following up with approximately 50 families that were at CHEO at approximately the same time as this child.
I have to wonder if the child who was infected was immunized. They left that part out in this case. I suspect the child was immunized only because if the child was NOT immunized the reporting never fails to miss it.
"We want to find out if they've been immunized, if they're susceptible to the disease, and encouraging them to be immunized if they're not fully protected right now," said Dr. Carolyn Pim, Ottawa's associate medical officer of health.
This is standard medical practice: to offer a vaccine after a potential infection. The same thing happens when you are injured with a laceration/abrasion or burn, except in this scenario, the vaccine that is offered is a tetanus shot.
Although this is standard accepted medical practice it warrants you asking your doctor what good a vaccine will do you if you are already infected. The answer is that it is not likely to help. Vaccines behave like a "mini" infection to stimulate your immune system to mount a defense and protect you against a real FUTURE infection... not one that is already in place.
Perhaps an injection of immune globulins would be a better idea. This would be like getting an injection with the very type of substance that your body would produce to fight off an infection. It makes more sense from a medical perspective but is rarely done as the side effects can be significant.
Maybe immunization is good, maybe it isn't. Personally - our family has decided to decline all vaccines for our children. If we happened to be in that CHEO emergency department, we would have declined the vaccine - I don't believe it would have helped.
I should mention that when I was in the hospital recovering from bacterial meningitis I received a call from the Ottawa Health Department offering the meningitis vaccine. I haven't read up on that particular vaccine but every vaccine I have read the details for specifically recommend that those in a weakened state should not receive a vaccine. I declined.
Labels: Health Department