EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services (AHS) has confirmed a new case of measles in the Edmonton Zone that is linked to an earlier case reported this month.
“I’m here to discuss our fourth case of measles that’s been recognized in the Edmonton Zone,” said Dr. Marcia Johnson, an AHS Medical Officer of Health.
It’s believed the male patient contracted measles from the exposure at the Edmonton International Airport in the early morning hours of April 10.
“This case is related to one of our previous cases, but unfortunately, the case did visit a lab during the time he could spread the disease to others,” explained Johnson.
In light of this new case, AHS is warning people of more potential exposures. Anyone who was at the following locations, on the dates and timeframes noted, may have been exposed:
- Dynalife Diagnostic Lab Services at the Meadowlark Shopping Centre on April 21 between 11:40 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Meadowlark Shopping Centre (156 Street & 87 Avenue) on April 21 between 11:40 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you were in the above locations during the times listed, and have not already had measles or been vaccinated, AHS says you may be at risk.
Those individuals are being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of measles, which include a fever of 38.3 degrees Celsius or higher and a cough, runny nose and/or red eyes, as well as a red blotchy rash.
(Read more information on measles below).
Measles is extremely contagious and is spread through the air.
“We ask people who were at that shopping centre at that time to just monitor themselves for symptoms and to please phone Health Link for instructions if they would like to seek treatment if they become symptomatic in the next two to three weeks,” said Johnson.
On April 19, health officials warned that passengers of an Air Canada flight and anyone who was at the International Airport during a certain window of time late on April 9 and early on April 10.
“We anticipate that there will be more cases, not necessarily even the ones we know about right now,” Johnson added.
Red Deer school
Meanwhile, a Red Deer school has told 40 students and four staff members that they must stay home from school following possible measles exposure.
“In these situations we’re really directed by Alberta Health Services in how we respond,” said Bruce Buruma, Director of Community Relations with Red Deer Public Schools.
“Their authority comes under the Public Health Act…They issue orders in regards to which students need to be excluded and we’ve just responded following direction from Alberta Health Services.”
AHS “needs to find out the immunization history of students and, if they cannot demonstrate that they have the proper vaccinations for the measles disease, then they are issued an exclusion order,” added Buruma.
Johnson explained the details of the policy relating to measles in schools.
“The policy is that, in a school setting, if you have proof of being up-to-date for your measles immunization – so typically for school aged, that means two doses – and a case of measles is recognized in the school, and you’re protected, you’re good to go, no problem.”
“If you are not protected against measles, typically you are excluded for a period of time, and that is so that the measles cycle can be stopped in that school.”
Mattie McCullough informed the individuals that they must stay home for 21 days following the possible exposure, which occurred on April 4, 8 and 9.
“At the end of the day, we’re concerned about the health and well-being of all of our students,” said Buruma.
“It is a very contagious disease and there’s a very high chance of students catching measles disease if they’re not immunized.”
According to AHS, two students at the school had measles.
The Mattie McCullough students and staff sent home have either not been vaccinated against measles, or have only received one of the two required doses.
“I think it is good for parents to understand that if there is a measles case in a school and your child is not protected, there will be an expectation that the child that’s not protected would be excluded to protect other people,” said Johnson.
Red Deer Public Schools says there are opportunities for those students to connect with teachers and continue their lessons from home.
© Shaw Media, 2014