Measles prompts more alerts to potential exposures

  • Apr. 30, 2014 4:07 p.m.

During National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW) this week, Immunize Canada calls Canadians to protect themselves by staying up to date with their immunizations – particularly in light of the recent measles cases.

“Immunizations are safe, effective, and benefit people of all ages,” says Dr. Susan Bowles, chair of Immunize Canada. “They protect individuals and communities by preventing the spread of disease. As more people are immunized, the disease risk for everyone is reduced.”

Officials have announced a new app, ImmunizeCA, which was developed by Immunize Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“The new ImmunizeCA app provides access to recommended immunization schedules, reliable, expert-approved, bilingual information about immunizations, as well as useful tools such as appointment reminders, and local outbreak alert notifications,” says Dr. Shelly McNeil, vice-chair of Immunize Canada.

Meanwhile, Alberta Health Services (AHS) has confirmed a case of measles in the Central Zone and is advising of potential exposures. This case is linked to the case previously announced on April 11th.

Individuals who were at the following location, on the date and in the time frame noted, may have been exposed to this case of measles: Boston Pizza (3215 Gaetz Ave). on April 21 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Individuals who were born after 1970 who were in the above location in the time frame noted and who have not already had measles disease, or who have not received two does of measles vaccine, may be at risk for developing measles.

If symptoms do develop, these individuals are advised to stay home and call Health Link Alberta (1-866-408-5465) before visiting any health care facility or provider.

Symptoms include fever of 38.3 C or higher, 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 an extremely contagious disease, spread easily through the air. Though there is no treatment, but it can be prevented through immunization.

In Alberta, measles vaccine is offered, free of charge, through the province’s immunization program. Children in Alberta typically receive their first dose of measles vaccine at 12 months of age, and their second dose between the ages of four and six years.

Albertans uncertain of their immunization history, or their child’s immunization history, can call their local public health office or Health Link Alberta (1-866-408-5465) to discuss.

In addition to the fever, rash and other symptoms, about one in three persons with measles can develop complications. These are more common among children under five years of age and individuals 20 years of age and older and can include

diarrhea, ear infections (which can lead to permanent hearing loss), pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and seizures.

Visit http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/9842.asp or www.MyHealth.Alberta.ca.

-Weber

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