The Globe and Mail紙より。(英文)
DISEASES Japanese students quarantined in Banff One of the group may have measles
May 29, 2007
CALGARY -- A field trip to Canada turned into a health education lesson for a group of Japanese students who are now quarantined in the Rocky Mountain resort town of Banff after a member of their tour became ill and is suspected of having measles.
The 130 tourists, including 10 or 11 adult supervisors, arrived in Alberta on Sunday and are being tested for immunity to measles while they are holed up in their hotel rooms.
Officials with Calgary Health Region hope to have test results by today, but in the meantime, they are also looking for anyone who may have been in contact with the infected female student.
So are officials with Vancouver Coastal Health who are trying to track down those on the tour group's flight from Tokyo to Vancouver on May 24. The infected girl, who stayed behind in Vancouver after feeling sick, is now "very seriously ill," said Judy MacDonald, the Calgary Health Region's deputy medical officer of health.
Those who are not immune to the virus will be vaccinated, Dr. MacDonald said, but there is no specific treatment other than bed rest.
Symptoms include a high fever, cough and a red rash, but it can be deadly.
"Measles is a serious disease," Dr. MacDonald said, "It is something that is very readily transmitted through the air to other individuals, but it's easily prevented by being vaccinated against measles through measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.
"Serious cases of measles can occur when the virus causes complications such as pneumonia or encephalitis affecting the brain or meningitis," she added.
According to the World Health Organization, measles infects 30 million people a year worldwide and leads to 454,000 deaths.
Japan, and Tokyo in particular, is currently coping with an outbreak of measles, which is likely where the student picked up the virus, Dr. MacDonald said.
While the disease has virtually been eliminated in Canada due to a childhood vaccination strategy, this country could face outbreaks brought in by foreigners.
A health study released earlier this year concluded that up to half of all new immigrants and refugees to Canada who haven't undergone vaccination regimes are susceptible to infectious diseases such as measles.
Japanese students blocked from flying home under Quarantine Act over measles
Thu May 31, 9:37 PM
By Helen Branswell
(CP) - Federal officials invoked the Quarantine Act to block a group of 39 Japanese students and two of their chaperones from boarding a flight to Tokyo on Thursday when departure screening in Vancouver revealed one girl was ill with symptoms that could be measles.
"The decision to hold them back was made under . . . the federal Quarantine Act, which essentially is designed to protect against the import and export of infectious diseases," said Dr. Howard Njoo, director of the Public Health Agency of Canada's centre for emergency preparedness and response.
They are part of a larger group of 130 Japanese tourists - 123 students and seven chaperones - who had previously been quarantined by local public health authorities in Banff, Alta., after one student developed measles shortly after arriving in the country on May 24.
While in Banff the entire group was tested to see if they had antibodies to measles and the 39 students and two chaperones were identified as having no immunity to the highly contagious disease.
Public health agency officials said with a new potential case, it was felt that these people - who could be incubating the disease - posed a health risk to other passengers on the 12-hour flight to Tokyo.
"Because these could be early signs of possible measles, it was then felt prudent that the group should not board the plane," explained Dr. Theresa Tam, the agency's director of immunization and respiratory diseases.
The remaining students and chaperones were allowed to board the flight. The antibody testing showed they were immune to measles and as such pose no risk to fellow passengers.
In total, 42 people are being held back. A tour organizer - who is immune to measles - decided to stay with the group until they can return to Japan.
The girl who is sick had a low grade fever and upper respiratory symptoms - which could be measles, influenza or a number of other illnesses. But given that she was exposed to a confirmed case of measles, public health authorities felt the disease could not be ruled out.
The unexpected extension of the group's trip could potentially be a lengthy one. If the girl doesn't have measles, that may become clear within three or four days, Tam said. But if she does, the group would not be allowed to travel until after a full incubation period.
"Potentially the longest time period would be post last contact and past the incubation period, which could be up to 18 days," Tam admitted.
"But we'll have to just wait and see what happens with this person."
Initially the group was being held at Vancouver International Airport's quarantine station while authorities made arrangements to put them up while they remain in Canada.
Njoo said the students, who are believed to be 16 and 17 years old, will be allowed some freedom of movement while in Vancouver, but they will face some restrictions.
"It's not strict isolation in the sense that we would do for a serious disease such as SARS," he said.
"We don't want to have them go out to mass gatherings and unduly expose large groups of people in a prolonged setting. But in terms of strict isolation, I think we're going to try to find balance there."
"It's not similar to some other situations we're aware of," he said, referring to the case of Andrew Speaker, the American man infected with extensively drug resistant tuberculosis who is being held under a U.S. federal quarantine order.
Speaker sparked an international disease scare after he travelled to and through Europe to get married and go on his honeymoon against the advice of public health officials in Atlanta, where he lives. He and his wife travelled back through Canada to evade a U.S. no-fly order.
Tam said the Japanese Embassy and officials of Japan's Ministry of Health were involved in the discussions about detaining the students, adding the group was being "extremely co-operative." Japan is currently experiencing a measles outbreak.