Second 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 Friday, April 24, 2015

A second travel-related, laboratory-confirmed case of measles has been reported in Manitoba, according to public health officials. A previous case was reported in February.

The individual, a woman in her 30s, lives in Winnipeg and is recovering at home. She contracted the virus while travelling in southern Africa. Contacts were limited and those at risk have already been identified, according to a news release from the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer with the Province of Manitoba .

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.

People who were at the following locations were notified of the possibility of having been exposed to measles virus:

  • Dakota Walk-In Clinic on Sunday, April 12 at 9 a.m.;

  • Victoria General Hospital emergency room on Monday, April 13 from approximately 6:40 to11:40 a.m.; and

  • Victoria General Hospital emergency room waiting room on Tuesday, April 14 from approximately 4:19 to 4:41 p.m.

Those 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.

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 and measles is suspected, 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 people from contracting measles. Contact an immunization provider such as a physician, nurse practitioner or local public health office to make sure everyone is 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, and
  • stay home when sick.

Source: Province of Manitoba

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