Feb 23, 2015
By Jane Brown
The mysterious measles outbreak in Toronto is a version that has never before been reported to the World Health Organization database. A published report today quotes Matthew Gilmour, the new scientific director general who oversees Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, where the genetic sequencing was done. Gilmour says “this variant of the measles is new to us, but as other countries uncover this virus as well, they’ll have a chance to put it in the same database.” He says the puzzle will then start to become clear as to the actual origin of this strain.
The WHO database contains descriptions of more than 22,000 slightly different viral sequences of the measles virus found across the Globe.
Eleven patients in the Greater Toronto Area have been diagnosed with the highly contagious illness since the end of January. None is conected to each other and none had recently travelled outside Canada to a place where they might’ve caught the measles.