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Two more cases of measles confirmed in Manitoba

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More on measles

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Thursday, April 3, 2014

Public health officials confirmed today two additional cases of measles have been reported in Manitoba. These are the third and fourth laboratory-confirmed cases in Manitoba this year.

This update is sent as a precautionary warning for those who may have been in contact with the individuals who are ill.

One individual is a youth in his teens who lives in the Southern Health-Santé Sud region.  Provincial public health officials are working with the regional health authority to investigate the case and identify contacts.  

The other individual is a woman in her 40s who lives in the area of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Provincial public health officials are working with the authority to investigate the case and identify contacts.  

People who were at the following locations should be aware of the possibility of infection:

  • Polo Park Shopping Centre, March 22 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.;
  • St Vital Shopping Centre, March 22 between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.; and
  • St. Boniface General Hospital Emergency Room between 9:45 p.m., March 26 and 11:30 p.m., March 27.

Those who visited these locations and 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.

The public, including members of the media, is encouraged to check the website at www.manitoba.ca/measles for the latest information on measles in Manitoba. The site will be updated by 3 p.m. daily, Monday to Friday, and will provide the latest information on a go-forward basis including if a new case is confirmed and possible locations of exposure. 

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.

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 it is seen. The disease tends to be more severe in infants and young children, and can be life-threatening.

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

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 not had a history of laboratory-confirmed measles infection, should be immunized with one dose of MMR.

To reduce the spread of measles, people can:

  • Ensure immunizations are up to date;
  •  Avoid sharing of personal items such as water bottles, lip gloss, cigarettes or eating utensils;
  • Cover their nose and mouth with their forearm or a tissue when they cough and sneeze;
  •  Wash their hands often with soap and water or clean them with alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, especially after coughing or sneezing; and
  •  Stay home when sick.

Source: Manitoba Government

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