People in Edmonton may have been exposed to measles: AHS

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WATCH ABOVE: Alberta Health Services has issued a public alert after one person with lab-confirmed measles visited some public places earlier this month. Sarah Kraus reports – May 15, 2018

Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued a warning Tuesday about a confirmed case of measles and possible exposures in several Edmonton locations.

AHS said a person with measles has been in several public places while infectious.

The patient’s diagnosis was confirmed by a lab on Monday, AHS medical officer of health Dr. Jasmine Hasselback said.

“Public health is responding as per normal protocol and that involves taking all efforts to ensure that we can reduce the likelihood of transmission of this disease,” she said. “Measles is incredibly contagious and so there’s a variety of activities that we will be undertaking and one of those is … notifying individuals that we believe may have been exposed to the measles virus.”

Hasselback said the case involves travel-acquired measles.

“We know that at this point, we haven’t had any local transmission. We know that this individual has captured their measles while away and has now introduced it to Canada.”

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She added that since there is just one patient at this point, this is not considered a measles outbreak.

READ MORE: What’s in a measles vaccine? 4 things you need to know

“That is the focus of today: to make sure the public is aware that they were possibly exposed to measles if they were at these locations during these times,” Hasselback said.

Individuals who were in the following places on the dates and times listed below may have been exposed:

May 8:

Northgate Mall between 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.

May 9:

Northgate Mall between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Misericordia Community Hospital ER between 6:48 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.

Misericordia Community Hospital Diagnostic Imaging between 11:55 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.

May 10:

Misericordia Community Hospital ER between 12 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Misericordia Community Hospital Diagnostic Imaging between 12 a.m. and 2:25 a.m. and again between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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Misericordia Community Hospital Endoscopy, surgical day ward and day surgery (including waiting room) between 2:47 p.m. 7:58 p.m.

May 11: 

Real Canadian Superstore (17303 Stony Plain Road) between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Misericordia Community Hospital ER between 9:50 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.

May 12: 

Misericordia Community Hospital ER between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Misericordia Community Hospital Diagnostic Imaging between 3:21 a.m. and 5:51 a.m.

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“As with any disease, there are people who will have classic symptoms and will be a clear diagnosis and there will be situations where that is not the case,” Hasselback said. “If you look at what measles is early on in the disease — fever, that’s very non-specific. A great deal of our conditions we see regularly within the health-care system involve fever … people with measles who don’t present with the classic symptoms, it may take some time to make that specific diagnosis.

“We’re on the extreme side of airing on caution when it comes to measles, given how contagious we know it is.”

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Anyone who was at the locations listed above during those specific times — and was born after 1970 and has not already had the measles or two doses of measles vaccine — may be at risk of developing measles.

“What we’ve looked at is where that person was when they were infectious,” Hasselback said. “One thing that’s notable about measles is that you can be infectious prior to being symptomatic, so that’s why we’re working backwards from today.”

Anyone who is pregnant or had infants under one year at the Misericordia at the times and dates listed above should call Health Link at 811 for assessment.

Everyone else should monitor themselves for measles symptoms for 21 days after the date of their potential exposure.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever of 38.3 C or higher AND
  • Cough, runny nose and/or red eyes AND
  • Red, blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after the fever starts, beginning behind the ears and on the face and spreading to body and arms and legs.

If symptoms develop, stay home and call Health Link at 811 immediately, even before visiting a clinic or health care provider.

READ MORE: Read Roald Dahl’s call for vaccination after his daughter died of measles

Measles can be spread easily through the air and is extremely contagious, AHS said.

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There is no treatment but it can be prevented through immunization.

In Alberta, the measles vaccine is offered for free and children usually receive their first dose at 12 months old and their second dose between four and six years old.

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