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Ontario child under 5 dies of measles, provincial health agency says

A child under five years old has died of measles in Ontario, according to the province’s public health agency.

In a report published Thursday, Public Health Ontario said the child was not vaccinated against the highly infectious respiratory virus. It did not indicate when or where the child died, or their specific age. 

Measles has been on the rise in both Ontario and elsewhere in Canada as cases increase globally.

There have been 22 cases in the province so far this year, Public Health Ontario says — level of infections matching a recent high set in 2014, when there was the same number over the entire calendar year.

All of the cases were in people born after 1970, including 13 children. In 12 of those instances, the children were unimmunized, while the vaccination status of one was unknown.

Five infections, all in unvaccinated children under five years old, required hospitalization, the report says.

Most of the total cases, 15 of 22, were linked to travel, Public Health Ontario says.

“In Ontario, measles has been rare, owing to the successful elimination of measles in Canada and high immunization coverage. As a result, measles cases are predominantly associated with travel,” the report says.

“Due to an increase in measles activity globally, Ontario has begun to see more cases of measles.”

More to come.

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