Toronto parents let children play despite cholera ban

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hamilton was the first city to end the practice of having students vaccinated against diseases

Young athletes who haven’t had their cholera shots are barred from playing in school-sponsored activities in Toronto, parents and supporters of the ban have said.

In September, children will be allowed to participate in sports teams but they have to take three doses of vaccinations. The first will be taken before winter.

Some parents have already withdrawn their children from sports clubs and physical education classes because of the rule.

School board officials told reporters they were complying with the community’s wishes to keep the population from catching cholera.

“There’s been a lot of science, there’s been a lot of literature and there’s been a lot of community consultations that’s led us to what’s ultimately a public health decision,” said a spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Toronto is home to many international students

Despite the new policy, school officials said parents had been leaving the game early.

School board officials added: “It’s not that it’s hard to find players that are available to play, it’s that not all of them are going to play because of the rule.”

Cholera is highly infectious, especially among young children. It can easily be spread through water, food and utensils. It is often fatal if people lack healthy immunity from an earlier bout of infection.

Chicago schools went into sterilization mode after cholera struck there in 1976. The country was also still dealing with the after effects of an earlier outbreak in the US in 1915-1917, one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in history.

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