Not since the SARS outbreak has the Canada’s Health Watchdogs jumped. It appears that a group of Japanese students have been quarenteened in Banff because one of their lot has a case of the measles. You remember the measles don’t you? That is the one that itches and gives you spots, pretty much dealt with a vaccine these days. Or is it?
The number of people who have contracted measles in Japan between the ages of 15 and 20 have reached a high record. The same thing is starting to happen in China, slowly the bug is making a comeback.
The classical symptoms of measles include a fever for at least three days, and the three Cs—cough,coryza (runny nose) and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The fever may reach up to 105° Fahrenheit/ 40°Celsius. Koplik’s spots seen inside the mouth are pathognomonic (diagnostic) for measles but are not often seen, even in real cases of measles, because they are transient and may disappear within a day of arising.
The characteristic measles rash is classically described as a generalized, maculopapular, erythematousrash that begins several days after the fever starts. It starts on the head before spreading to cover most of the body, often causing itching. The rash is said to “stain”, changing color from red to dark brown, before disappearing. –wikipedia measles
The World health organization has developed a plan to reduce the bug by 2010. Currently immunization is only 85% effective in developing countries. This could be possible as long as responsible reporting on the progress is kept professional. In the case of bad media in the UK over the MMR vaccine in 1998 the reporter neglected to mention that the doctor who raised concerns that MMR might be linked to bowel disease and other similar problems was only from a case load of 12 children, not from a random sample of the population that had taken MMR.
So why did Canada’s Health Organizations jump on a bunch of students from Japan?
It appears that Canadians are heading down the path of not getting their children immunized due to fears that these immunizetion shots are not good for their children. This simply isn’t the reality. It is true that Canada’s standard for approval of drugs and medicine has changed in recent years. Pharmacy manufacturers have managed to pressure the government to reduce the effective levels of medicines from 80% to 20%, but this has more to do with terminology then actually change in safety levels, and effectiveness. Using the old standards most drugs and vaccines would still pass that pass under the new system, in fact, some wouldn’t pass that passed under the old. The reason for this is the level of interaction between semi-unrelated issues. If a drug was 80% effective before, it hasn’t changed under the new rules even if it’s score is now 20%, that’s because before 80% meant that 80 people out of a hundred would not have any ill effects of the drug who meet certain requirements such as not being HIV positive, or over weight etc. Now it means that 20% of the total population spread will not have any ill effects. The terminology has changed to reflect the reality that most people don’t even know if anything is wrong with themselves before taking a new drug.