LETHBRIDGE: Alberta Health Services officials are calling the 18 confirmed cases of measles in the Lethbridge area, "the tip of the iceberg".
Dr. Vivien Suttorp stated that there are likely many more people in the region with the illness, who simply have not reported the case at this point. She added that none of those 18 had received the first immunization or the booster shot, and also confirmed that at least one of those individuals has had to be hospitalized with complications from the disease.
Suttorp then addressed the effectiveness of the vaccine, "One dose of measles containing vaccine provides roughly 95-per cent protection, and then that booster, that second dose that's given to kids at four years of age, gets you closer to that 100-per cent. We of course know that nothing is 100-per cent and the vaccine is not 100-per cent either, but with the two doses, you get close to 99-per cent protection."
For children between six months and one year of age, Suttorp stated that they will be able to receive an immunization. Normally they would have to wait until the one year mark, however because Alberta is dealing with an outbreak they have bumped it up. Suttorp was quick to point out that those children would still need their two vaccinations later in life, as their immune systems are still immature at that age, and will not provide life-long protection.
AHS has set up two more measles immunization clinics for November 13th and 20th. Both run from 2-pm to 7-pm at the Main Pavilion of Exhibition Park.
To this point, the confirmed measles cases are in individuals between the ages of four and 23.