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EDITORIAL: Hope it doesn’t spread

A virus can live for two hours in the air where an infected person has sneezed or coughed. —
A virus can live for two hours in the air where an infected person has sneezed or coughed. Airports are easy places for viruses to spread. — 123RF Stock Photo

So, what’s the worst kind of airplane seatmate?

Is it the one with armrest-spread, who overwhelms the armrest between you and settles an elbow in spots where you don’t regularly expect contact from strangers?

Is it the person wearing perfume the way a newly christened ship wears champagne, with a whole bottle broken over its prow?

Is it the loud talker, the snorer, the drinker, the passenger who brought Fluffles, the under-seat  and apparently operatic cat, who is willing to serenade you for inflight hours on end?

Wait, there’s worse.

Much worse. They’re silent, and so small you can’t even see them.

Worse, especially since a fraudulent scientific study made people start questioning the value of vaccinations — and choosing not to vaccinate their children against some of the greatest medical scourges that science has managed to control.

Here’s Wednesday’s report about exposure to a confirmed case of measles at Canada’s largest airport.

It was only a matter of time before this happened — and sadly, it will happen again. The U.S., once close to measles-free, already has 10 states dealing with measles cases in 2019.

“People in the following areas of Pearson Airport on January 27, 2019 may have been exposed: Lufthansa flight LH-470, from Frankfurt to Toronto (Pearson Airport, arrival at 4:08 p.m.); Air Canada flight AC-834 or LH-6829, from Toronto (Pearson Airport, departure at 6:00 p.m.) to Montreal; Pearson International Airport (Terminal 1) on January 27, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.)”

Measles is highly contagious; the virus can live for two hours in the air where an infected person has sneezed or coughed. If you think you have measles, you’re told to call ahead to give your health provider — family doctor or hospital — enough warning to make precautions for public safety.

Of course, protection is as simple as a pair of childhood vaccinations. The population used to be so completely vaccinated that those born before 1970 are considered to be immune.

But not the modern world. No, now we’ve got the internet, so we can choose the science we want to believe.

It was only a matter of time before this happened — and sadly, it will happen again. The U.S., once close to measles-free, already has 10 states dealing with measles cases in 2019.

Even though no one needs to suffer through the risks of the disease, which can include encephalitis, pneumonia and even death.

Think about it: a major airport like Pearson is just about the worst place to launch the infectious board game known as “who came in contact with Patient Zero?”

So, you weren’t even on an airplane on Jan. 27, what does it mean to you?

Well, you weren’t, but your neighbours might have been. Or your doctor, or your mail carrier. Your grocery clerk. Your barista.

This is an evil genie that no one in the medical world wants to have let out of the bottle.

Yet, here we go.


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