Child under 5 dies after being hospitalized for measles: Public Health Ontario

Click to play video: 'Unvaccinated Ontario child dies of measles, sparks concern among health community'
Unvaccinated Ontario child dies of measles, sparks concern among health community
WATCH: There's some troubling news out of Ontario today. Public health officials say a child under the age of five, who was unvaccinated against measles, has died after being hospitalized for the virus. As Katherine Ward explains, it's just the latest development in what's been an alarming resurgence of measles across Canada – May 17, 2024

A child from Ontario under the age of five has died from measles, according to a report released by Ontario Public Health on Thursday.

The province confirmed the child was from Hamilton and the city’s associate medical officer of health revealed the youth had not been vaccinated against the virus.

“Hamilton Public Health Services can confirm the death of a child under five years old related to a measles infection,” said Dr. Brendan Lew said in a release.

“The City of Hamilton and all in our community extend our deepest condolences to the child’s family and loved ones.”

Story continues below advertisement

Lew confirmed the city has had six measles cases in 2024 so far, all of whom have not previously received a measles-containing vaccine.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

In Canada, the general rule of thumb is that children are expected to receive their first vaccination between the ages of 12 and 15 months followed by a booster after they reach 18 months but before they start school.

A spokesperson for Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones also expressed condolences to the grieving family.

“Our heart goes out to the family that has tragically lost their child. Our thoughts are with them as they navigate this challenging time,” a spokesperson for the Minister of Health Hannah Jensen wrote.

“We remind all Ontarians to stay up to date with their vaccinations to ensure themselves and their loved ones are protected against infectious diseases.”

Back in February, Ontario’s top doctor followed that news by sending a memo, which was obtained by Global News, to local public health units that warned they could see a rise in the number of cases.

In the memo, Dr. Kieran Moore cited a “dramatic” global rise in the number of measles cases.

That has rung true as there have already been 22 cases reported over the first four-and-a-half months of 2024, according to the report.

Story continues below advertisement

Before the COVID pandemic, there were somewhere between seven and 22 cases per year between 2013 and 2019. The virus pretty much disappeared as the pandemic raged on while there were seven cases last year.

The report said that a majority of those cases have come through travel or were spread through people who were abroad.

Five of the 22 people who have caught the virus have ended up in hospital, with all five being children who had not been vaccinated, the report said.

Sponsored content