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Confirmed case of measles in Calgary and Cochrane

Last Updated Mar 14, 2019 at 7:01 pm MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Alberta Health Services says a person with lab-confirmed measles recently spent time in Cochrane and Calgary while infectious.  There are a few symptoms you should be on the lookout for, according to Dr. Jia Hu, medical officer of health.

“Measles looks and sounds a lot like other respiratory viruses,” he said. “So you’d have a cough, runny nose, fever — often times it comes with a spotty rash that goes from your body downwards.”

Symptoms include:

  • fever of 38.3° C or higher; and
  • cough, runny nose and/or red eyes; and
  • a red blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after fever starts, beginning behind the ears and on the face and spreading down the body and then to the arms and legs.

Measles is extremely contagious and is spread easily through the air. Individuals who were in the following locations in Cochrane and Calgary between March 5 – 12 may have been exposed. Click the icons on the map to see the possible exposure locations and times.

“People who are at the highest risk we’ve directly contacted and we’re doing a direct follow-up with those individuals,” Hu said. Individuals who were exposed on March 12, in the locations and timeframes noted above, and who have no history of receiving any measles-containing vaccine, will be offered immunization tomorrow from 9:30 to 5 p.m. – as a preventative measure at Brentwood Mall AHS Immunization Clinic.

RELATED: Measles outbreak pushes call for mandatory vaccines: report

Individuals who were exposed on dates other than March 12 are no longer eligible for a preventative vaccine; however, they are still encouraged to review their immunization history, and call Health Link for advice or to book an appointment at their local community health centre.

In some circumstances, measles can become a deadly virus. “One in 20 people you see an infection in the lungs, which can be pretty serious,” Hu said. “In about 1 to 2 per 1000 people will die from the measles,” and also experience swelling of the brain.

Cases of measles are once again surfacing in Canada and doctors are warning the vaccination rate in the country is too low.

Additionally, individuals who were in the above locations in the timeframes noted and who were born after 1970, and have not already had measles disease or have not received two doses of measles vaccine, may be at risk for developing measles.

These individuals are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms of measles. If signs of measles do develop, these individuals are encouraged to stay home and call Health Link at 811, before visiting any healthcare facility or provider.

For more information, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/measles.