What is it?
Measles, also called rubeola, is a very contagious infection of the lungs (respiratory illness) caused by the measles virus. The measles virus normally grows in the back of the throat and lungs.
Measles is common in many parts of the world but is rare in countries that provide routine vaccines. There are still some measles cases in Canada because travellers to and from other countries become infected and spread the virus to people who are not immune, usually people who have not been vaccinated.
Complications from measles can include pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhea, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and blindness. Complications are more common for children under five years of age and people 20 years of age or older. Measles is a serious disease: one out of every 10 people who get measles develop complications, one out of every 1000 people who get measles die.
Hamilton Public Health Services strongly encourages parents to fully vaccinate their children against measles.