More than 700 cases of measles in Quebec
Published Thursday, September 22, 2011 8:40AM EDT
For the first time since 2007 Quebec is dealing with a widescale measles outbreak.
More than 700 cases of the potentially deadly disease have been reported in the province this year, with the majority of people being infected between April and July, although new infections are still being reported.
Most of the people infected live in the Mauricie region of the province, but the most recent cases have been reported in the Eastern Townships.
12 percent of the infections have been so bad people needed to be hospitalized for treatment.
Measles can cause blindness, encephalitis, pneumonia and death.
Public health officials suspect the disease was brought into Quebec from European visitors.
They are urging parents to get children vaccinated against the disease.
Vaccination rates against measles have dropped since 1998, when a medical researcher faked research and falsely claimed there was a link between a measles vaccine and autism. That research has since been thoroughly discredited, the journal that published the study has apologized, and the doctor involved has been stripped of his medical license.
In July Mexico set up vaccination and inspection stations at airports after a visitor from France arrived sick with the disease. It was the first case of measles in Mexico in four years.
At that point the World Health Organization had documented more than 12,000 cases of measles in 2011, mostly in Europe.