Ontario health units told to prepare for ‘potential outbreaks’ of measles

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What Canadians can do if measles is reported in your city
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Ontario’s top doctor is warning public health agencies to be ready and prepared for a potential increase in the number of measles cases after two were reported in the Greater Toronto Area.

Dr. Kieran Moore sent a memo, obtained by Global News, to public health agencies on Tuesday, citing a “dramatic” global rise in the number of measles cases.

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can spread through air and close contact. Symptoms include a rash, fever, cough and fatigue.

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The memo asked public health agencies to maintain a focus on ensuring people are up to date with vaccinations, communicate the effectiveness of vaccines and proactively publicize new cases.

“While measles is no longer considered endemic in Canada, outbreaks can happen when susceptible individuals (e.g., unvaccinated) travel to and return from countries where measles is circulating,” Moore wrote.

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“Importation and resultant local transportation can, and has, led to measles outbreaks in Canada.”

Moore said there are currently four measles cases in Canada, including two in Ontario.

The memo to health agencies comes the week after two measles cases were identified in Ontario, both linked to travel.

One case was discovered in Mississauga, according to local health officials, on Feb. 13. The second involved an infant who was hospitalized with measles in Toronto on Feb. 16.

Moore warned in his memo that travel during March break could lead to more cases in the province.

“Health system partners in Ontario must be prepared for the continued importation of cases and potential outbreaks,” the memo read.

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