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One case of measles confirmed in Manitoba

Public health officials monitoring situation

measles vaccine
 
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Information on the measles / mumps / rubella vaccine

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Wednesday, February 10, 2015

The chief provincial public health officer confirmed today that one case of measles has been reported in Manitoba.

The individual, a child under one year old, lives within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and is recovering at home. It is suspected the child contracted the virus while out of the country. Contacts were limited and have already been identified; they have, or will soon be, contacted by public health authorities.

Where appropriate, people will be offered immunization and asked to restrict their 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.

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 a highly infectious, communicable disease that 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.

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 only 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 two-dose measles vaccine program was introduced in 1996. Vaccines for measles/mumps/rubella/varicella (MMR or MMRV) are provided for children who are at least one year of age and again when aged four to six.

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
  • stay home when sick.

Source: Province of Manitoba

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