Measles case in Saskatchewan prompts pub­lic ad­vi­sory

Southwest Booster - - NEWS - SUB­MIT­TED

Health of­fi­cials have re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion of measles in an unim­mu­nized in­fant who trav­elled by air to Saskatchewan in early Jan­uary.

The in­fant’s fam­ily flew from the Philip­pines to Van­cou­ver on Jan. 2, 2014, and then to Cal­gary and Regina on Jan. 7. Pas­sen­gers who were on the same flights as the fam­ily may have been ex­posed to measles. Those who de­velop symp­toms are en­cour­aged to call their health provider to seek im­me­di­ate med­i­cal ad­vice, par­tic­u­larly if they have not been im­mu­nized.

“Measles cases are quite un­com­mon in Saskatchewan, but this sit­u­a­tion un­der­scores the im­por­tance of vac­ci­na­tions,” Deputy Chief Med­i­cal Health Of­fi­cer Denise Werker said. “The risk of ex­po­sure to highly con­ta­gious dis­eases can be par­tic­u­larly high dur­ing busy travel sea­sons, for peo­ple trav­el­ling within Canada as well as to and from coun­tries ex­pe­ri­enc­ing measles out­breaks.”

Dr. Werker in­di­cated that the in­fant is re­ceiv­ing treat­ment and re­cov­er­ing. The Min­istry of Health is work­ing closely with the Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada and health of­fi­cials in B.C. and Al­berta to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and take nec­es­sary ac­tion.

Saskatchewan has con­firmed one other case of measles since the new year in­volv­ing a per­son who had trav­elled from the Philip­pines; that case was not in­fec­tious dur­ing travel. In­ves­ti­ga­tion of ex­po­sures that may have oc­curred within Saskatchewan have been com­pleted by re­gional health au­thor­i­ties in ac­cor­dance with disease preven­tion and con­trol pro­to­cols.

Measles is a highly in­fec­tious and po­ten­tially se­ri­ous disease that is eas­ily trans­mit­ted through the air. Symp­toms in­clude high fever, cough and runny nose, fol­lowed by a rash. The rash of­ten starts on the face be­fore spread­ing to the rest of the body. All trav­ellers could un­know­ingly be ex­posed to peo­ple with measles. Measles oc­curs more fre­quently in coun­tries out­side of the Amer­i­cas. For ex­am­ple, there are large out­breaks oc­cur­ring in the Nether­lands and the Philip­pines. Par­ents with in­fants six to 12 months of age should con­sider hav­ing th­ese in­fants vac­ci­nated prior to travel and seek­ing travel ad­vice about other dis­eases that may pose a risk to the health of fam­ily mem­bers.

Peo­ple plan­ning travel out­side the Amer­i­cas are ad­vised to check their im­mu­niza­tion records to en­sure their measles vac­ci­na­tions are up to date. In­for­ma­tion on coun­tries ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a resur­gence of measles is avail­able through the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion at www.who.int/im­mu­niza­tion/mon­i­tor­ing_­surveil­lance/bur­den/vpd/surveilla nce_­type/ac­tive/measles_m onth­ly­data/en/in­dex.html.

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