Rubella, measles, polio and tetanus are a blast from the past.
Modern medicine has nearly eradicated incidences of these medical conditions. In some areas, however, they’re making a bit of a comeback, and according to health officials, the reason is clear – dropping immunization rates.
Dr. Karin Goodison, one of the medical officers of health for this zone, said the numbers are clear, as a trend has emerged which has seen a smaller percentage of locals participate in immunization programs.
Last week was Immunization Awareness Week, and Goodison and other health professionals are sounding the alarm as to what this might mean, as the immunization rate of 88.8 per cent in 2007, which once had this zone in the middle of the pack, fell to 79.5 per cent in 2013, the second-lowest in Alberta. One zone had a 79.4 per cent immunization rate, while at the other end of the spectrum witnessed a zone where 88 per cent were immunized in 2013.
“That trend is concerning to us here and across Canada,” she said. “We’re seeing some vaccine-preventable diseases coming back.”
The Lethbridge area has experienced measles outbreaks recently, and Goodison said a similar outbreak which hit Quebec is evidence some long-forgotten medical conditions can quickly be resurrected.
“Groups with low immunization rates are susceptible, because they don’t have that herd immunity,” said Goodison. “Although our overall immunization rates aren’t terrible, we do see pockets where we have low immunization rates.”