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Banff residents may have been exposed to measles virus: AHS

WATCH: Health officials have contacted more than 100 people who may have been exposed to measles in Banff. Sarah Offin reports.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued a public health advisory Tuesday after a person with lab-confirmed measles visited several public areas in the Banff area while infected.

AHS said in a news release Tuesday that anyone who may have visited the locations listed below during the dates and times specified may have been exposed to the virus:

  • OK Gift Shop – 209 Banff Ave.
    • Friday, May 25 between 1:45 p.m. and store closing.
    • Saturday, May 26 between 1:45 p.m. and store closing.

“Individuals who were in the above locations in the timeframes noted and who were born after 1970, and have not already had measles disease or have not received two doses of measles vaccine, may be at risk for developing measles,” AHS said.

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AHS said that individuals who think they may have been at those locations during those specific times should monitor themselves for signs of the disease.

“If symptoms of measles do develop, these individuals are advised to stay home and call Health Link at 811, before visiting any health-care facility or provider,” AHS said.

WATCH: Dr. Judy MacDonald explains that the patient with a confirmed case of measles in Banff had no history of travel.

Banff measles case has no history of travel
Banff measles case has no history of travel

Officials said Tuesday the individual with the confirmed case didn’t have a history of travel, meaning the infection could have been brought in by one of the hundreds of tourists that visit the resort town each day.

AHS said though they can’t be sure where the disease originated, there are currently outbreaks in Japan and Venezuela.

“It seems like a lot of people come through,” seasonal employee Paige Holmes said. “You gotta take extra precautions washing your hands and stuff, but you don’t really let it affect your day though.”

At the popular Banff gondola tourist attraction, as many as 6,000 people may come through each day during the peak summer season, according to attendant Jack Whelan.

“You just try to be as vigilant as you can,” Whelan said. “I’m actually a bit sick at the moment. You just have to be proactive with it, stay on top when dealing with people, you just can’t take the risks.”

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What are the symptoms?

AHS said symptoms of measles include a fever running at 38 C or higher, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a red, blotchy rash.

The rash usually appears three to seven days after the fever starts, AHS said. It starts behind the ears and on the face and usually extends down through the body and to the arms and legs.

READ MORE: Measles outbreak: How a decades old, fraudulent anti-vaccine study still affects public health

Measles is very contagious and can spread through the air and there is no treatment, AHS said.

When a person is diagnosed with measles, they’re typically put in quarantine to prevent the spreading of the disease.

“With measles contacts that are not known to be immune… we asked them to look for their records or we can do some lab testing on them,” Dr. Judy Macdonald said. “They are quarantined for up to 21 days after their exposure.”

WATCH: Dr. Judy MacDonald explains the symptoms of measles.

AHS details the symptoms of measles
AHS details the symptoms of measles

Macdonald confirmed 100 people have been contacted and tested for possibly coming in contact with measles and some of them are currently under quarantine.

The only way to prevent measles is through vaccination, which is available free of charge to Alberta residents, AHS added.

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“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,” AHS said.

If you are not sure about your vaccine status, AHS is encouraging residents to contact their public health office or call 811 for more information.