Alberta Health Services has confirmed a case of measles in southern Alberta.
Alberta Health Services is contacting unimmunized individuals who have been identified as immediate contacts.
“We are asking all potentially exposed individuals to monitor their health for symptoms of measles disease,” said Dr. Vivien Suttorp, medical officer of health, south zone. “These individuals must continue to watch for symptoms of measles through Nov. 4.”
Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose or red eyes, and a red blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after fever starts.
The rash typically begins behind the ears and on the face, spreading down to the body, and finally to the arms and legs.
Individuals may be at risk for developing the disease if they have not already had measles in the past, or have not been vaccinated against measles.
People with symptoms should avoid contact with others and call Health Link Alberta 1-866-408-5465 or a physician as soon as possible, prior to attending a clinic or hospital.
By calling ahead before seeking treatment, you can help reduce the potential risk of spreading the disease to others.
Unlike many other infections, you do not have to have close contact with an infected person to catch measles.
In addition to being spread by coughing and sneezing, measles is also spread through air currents. Because it is an airborne disease, it is extremely contagious.
There is no cure for measles, but it can be prevented with vaccination.
“This case is a reminder of the importance of vaccination,” Suttorp said. “We are seeing outbreaks of measles around the world, and whether you’re travelling yourself or staying at home here in Alberta, there’s an increasing risk of being exposed to measles and other vaccine preventable illnesses. We strongly encourage all Albertans to ensure they are up to date with all immunizations.”
The MMR Vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, is part of the routine childhood immunization program in Alberta.
Children in Alberta typically receive their first dose of MMR Vaccine at 12 months of age and their second dose between the ages of four and six years. Both doses are required to be fully protected.