News Column

Public Health Notice: Measles

Jul 17 2013 12:00AM



OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/17/13 -- Why you should take note

Since the beginning of the year, nearly 30 cases of measles have been identified in six Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. At this time in 2012, six cases had been reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Measles is a serious and very contagious disease that can cause blindness, encephalitis, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. It spreads easily through close contact with an infected person. Measles affects all age groups and can be prevented by a vaccine. More information on measles is available on our web site.

Risk to Canadians

Although measles is highly contagious, it is relatively rare in Canada thanks to safe and effective immunization programs.

Most cases reported in Canada so far this year are travel-related. This happens when travellers, who may be susceptible, catch measles in a country where the disease is still occurring and return infected to Canada. They then infect others in their communities who are susceptible. These are called secondary transmissions.

People are susceptible to measles if they haven't been vaccinated against the disease or if they only received one of the two recommended doses of vaccine. A person can also be susceptible if they have a weakened immune system due to an underlying medical condition.

Canadians are reminded to keep their immunizations up to date, particularly if you are planning to travel.

Measles occurs throughout the world and remains a serious and common disease in developing countries. It is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths in children worldwide.

How to avoid getting measles

The only protection against measles is previous infection or vaccination with two doses of measles-containing vaccine.

The Public Health Agency reminds Canadians, especially travellers, to make sure their measles vaccinations are up to date.

If you have recently travelled and you develop symptoms similar to measles when you return to Canada, you should see a health care provider. Describe your symptoms over the phone before your appointment, so that they can arrange to see you without exposing others to measles. Symptoms include the following:

-- fever-- runny nose-- drowsiness-- irritability-- red eyes/sensitivity to light-- small white spots on the inside of the mouth and throat-- red blotchy rash that starts on the face three to seven days after the start of the symptoms and then progresses down the body.

There is no specific treatment for measles. Symptoms are usually treated with medication to reduce fever and fluids. Most people fully recover.

Travel information

While the Public Health Agency is not advising any travel restrictions related to measles at this time, a Travel Health Notice has been posted to provide advice to Canadian travellers, including the list of countries where measles is occurring.

What the Public Health Agency of Canada is doing

The Public Health Agency of Canada conducts routine surveillance of measles cases in Canada and is working with provincial and territorial authorities to monitor travel-related cases of measles in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The Agency recommends that travellers be aware of the risks and reduce the chance of getting sick while travelling by ensuring that all immunizations are up to date.

More information :

General information on measles :

Travel Health Notice :

Media Contact
Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

Source: Marketwire

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters