NEWS

Second case of measles confirmed

Province lists locations where people may have been exposed to virus

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Measles Information for the Public

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Public health officials confirmed yesterday that a second laboratory-confirmed case of measles has been reported in Manitoba.

This update is sent as a precautionary warning for those who may have been in contact with the person who is currently ill. In addition, a letter providing information on the current situation and preventive measures will be distributed through schools and daycare centres today.

The case is a man in his '20s who lives in the area of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. This individual was in direct contact with the first case of measles identified in Manitoba earlier this month.

Symptoms of measles generally appear seven to 21 days after exposure. Initial symptoms may include fever, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability and red eyes.  Small white spots may also develop on the inside of the mouth or throat.

Several days after the initial symptoms, a red blotchy rash appears on the face and progresses down the body. Measles can lead to complications including ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia (lung infection) and encephalitis (brain inflammation).

Measles is spread through droplets in the air formed when coughing or sneezing. An infected person can spread the virus from four days before the rash appears to four days after. The disease tends to be more severe in infants and young children, and can be life-threatening.

Provincial public health officials are working with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to investigate the case and identify contacts. People who were at the following locations and events should be aware of the possibility of infection:

University of Manitoba, March 20, at the following locations and times:

  • St. Paul’s College, Room 225 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
  • Machray Hall, Room 418 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.;
  • EITC-E2, Room 105 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
  • Frank Kennedy study hall, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and from 5:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.;

Concordia Hospital emergency department, March 22 between 10:15 p.m. and 10:40 p.m.

Those who visited these locations and who think they might have measles or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with measles should phone their health-care provider or Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.

Where appropriate, people will be offered immunization and may be asked to remain at home and minimize contact with others to reduce the possible spread of measles. Public health officials will continue to monitor the situation in Manitoba and will provide updated information as necessary. If visiting a physician or health-care provider, it is best to call ahead and make an appointment so health-care staff can take steps to reduce the exposure of other people to the virus.

Immunization is the best means of protecting yourself and your family. Contact an immunization provider such as a physician, nurse practitioner or local public health office to make sure you and your family are up to date.

In Manitoba, a measles immunization program was first established in 1967. In 1996, the current two-dose measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine program was introduced.  Vaccines are provided for children who are at least one year of age and a second dose is given when aged four to six. The effectiveness of a single dose of measles vaccine given at 12 or 15 months of age is estimated to be 85 to 95 per cent.  With a second dose, efficacy is almost 100 per cent.

Adults born before 1970 are generally presumed to have acquired natural immunity to measles, however, some of these individuals may be susceptible. Adults born in 1970 or later who do not have a record showing they received a measles vaccine, or who have a history of laboratory-confirmed measles infection, should be immunized with one dose of MMR.

In Canada, measles activity is currently being reported by British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, mostly related to ongoing outbreaks in the Philippines and the Netherlands.

To reduce the spread of measles, people can:

  • ensure immunizations are up to date,
  • wash their hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available,
  • avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils,
  • cover coughs and sneezes with the forearm or a tissue, and
  • stay home when sick.

Information on the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine

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