Toronto to start giving oral vaccine against PARV-19 next year

Image copyright flickr user Elliott Divis Image caption Toronto Public Health will study a vaccine made by MedImmune Canada before recommending it for use

Toronto Public Health (TPH) in Canada will issue oral vaccines against human parvovirus-19 next year.

Some children in the city had contracted the disease without knowing it after being given MMR vaccine.

The US Centers for Disease Control advises that immunization is effective in preventing asymptomatic childhood parvovirus-19 infections.

TPH said its decision “does not constitute an endorsement” of the vaccine.

The health body will begin to study the vaccine made by MedImmune Canada before recommending it for use.


Toronto Public Health said it has begun work on introducing the shots next year for children aged five to 11.

The agency will study the vaccine’s effectiveness against persistent infections and causes of death in different populations, and will talk to parents about the benefits and risks.

The agency has also pledged to provide free home-testing for any child with a suspicion of PARV-19 infection.

They will then be isolated in an incubation period where the virus will continue to incubate.

The agency will have ready those parents whose children test positive, and then, it said, treat them with “an appropriate regimen of antibiotic medication to prevent resistance and other treatment-associated complications”.

Toronto has been particularly hard hit by PARV-19 – which is caused by the same virus as Marburg-Vaccinia-diptheria virus, and is not linked to any flu.

Buses have been disinfected and brought into compliance with safety instructions on the death of one child because it is believed to have had the virus on its respiratory system

Five other children – two boys and three girls – fell sick last week with the virus.

They had had routine vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus and a polio vaccine and were one to four years old at the time.

None of the cases was severe.

Treatment for PARV-19 symptoms could include:

Urinary tract infections

Neck pain

Loss of appetite

Swollen lymph nodes

Difficulty in breathing

Use of antibiotic therapy

Writing a note that writes a distance of 2 metres between you and them

For children with the disease, TPH said, “antibiotics should be started early to prevent serious complications and reduce the risk of a worsening of the disease”.

In a statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics said: “we hope that TPH will provide guidance about vaccine alternatives that could provide effective prevention for some of these community infectious diseases”.

‘Not enough information’

The majority of those affected in the outbreak were boys, with one girl.

“It is possible that the symptom severity of affected children was partly affected by the unusually high rates of cases of Parvo in Canada over the past several years,” it said.

“Before issuing more sweeping recommendations, TPH will make sure that their recommendations and data are sufficient to weigh the balance of benefits and risks for this new vaccine.”

The cases were most likely “acquired before the current widespread use of these vaccines and before the effective vaccination for PARV-19” in Canada, it said.

“Until the benefits of this vaccine are proven to outweigh the possible harms associated with the new vaccine, we recommend that most children in the community not be vaccinated or should at least be given antibiotics only after the onset of symptoms.”

The Parvo virus causes fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain

Image copyright Thinkstock Image caption PARV-19 has been causing misery in Toronto since 2014

UK guidelines state that the three-year-old children who contracted PARV-19 should not be vaccinated, nor should they be placed in isolation.

The NHS said the childhood vaccine is effective against several strains of the disease, including PARV-19.

Vaccinations against other strains, such as the influenza B virus, are recommended, it said.

The National Public Health Alert Network on Twitter called the vaccine “good news”.

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