Alberta Health Services issued a public alert Friday to warn people of potential exposure to measles. AHS said there was a confirmed case of measles in a person who travelled from Vancouver to Edmonton in February.
Anyone who was at the following locations on the dates and times listed may have been exposed to measles:
- Feb. 24: WestJet flight WS 186 from Vancouver to Edmonton (exposure could have occurred during the flight, which departed at 10:20 p.m. PST)
- Feb. 25: Edmonton International Airport between 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. MST
Those who were in the above areas at the listed times, who were born after 1970, and have not already had measles or received two doses of the vaccine could be at risk.
AHS will be contacting passengers of Flight WS 186 directly.
However, anyone who was at the Edmonton airport on Feb. 25 between 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. are asked to call Health Link (811) immediately to be assessed for risk.
The patient with the confirmed measles is an Alberta resident with no immunization for the infection on record.
Everyone who falls under the potential exposure parameters should monitor themselves for symptoms from now until March 18.
“Unfortunately people can spread the disease before the development of symptoms, which is why we’re following up with everybody,” Oda said.
If symptoms of measles develop, individuals are advised to stay home and call Health Link before visiting any health care facility or provider.
Symptoms of measles include a fever of 38.3 C or higher and cough, runny nose and/or red eyes as well as a red blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after the fever starts, usually beginning behind the ears and on the face and spreading to the body.
Measles is extremely contagious and can be spread easily through the air.
“Measles is probably the most infectious disease that we know about that’s currently still floating around,” Oda said.
“There were cases associated with the Disneyland outbreak… a couple of years back where people were just walking past each other in the airport and it resulted in transmission. You don’t need terribly close contact in order to contract measles.”
There is no treatment, but it can be prevented through immunization.
If you are not sure if you’ve been immunized as a child, call your local health office or Health Link at 811.