March 5, 2019 2:17 pm
Updated: March 6, 2019 9:32 am

Toronto Public Health confirms measles case of unvaccinated infant

WATCH ABOVE: An infant has been confirmed to have measles after traveling abroad, Toronto Public Health says. As Erica Vella reports, the disease can spread quickly and doctors are reminding people to get vaccinated.

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Toronto Public Health (TPH) officials say they are investigating the case of an unvaccinated infant who contracted measles while traveling.

A city spokesperson said TPH staff have followed up directly with the individual and all known contacts.

The associate medical officer of health told Global News the exact point of infection is unknown.

WATCH: Alberta children in isolation after possible measles exposure

“While the individual travelled abroad, there are many points of possible exposure through travel including the country they visited, the airlines and airport that they travelled through,” Dr. Vinita Dubey said in an email.

“Also, it is important to note that the individual was not contagious during travel.  The incubation period for measles is 7-21 days and because the incubation period is so long, you can acquire measles, but not be contagious for up to three weeks later.”

READ MORE: What we can learn from the current measles outbreak in B.C.

Infectious disease physician Janine McCready, who works at Michael Garron Hospital, posted a tweet indicating she received an email confirmation of the measles case from TPH Tuesday morning.

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The confirmed case is in Scarborough and people may have been exposed at the emergency department at Scarborough Health Network — Birchmount Site and the Huntingdale Medical Centre at 3061 Pharmacy Ave, the email said.

The confirmed case of the measles in Toronto comes as Canada’s West Coast deals with an acute outbreak.

Fifteen cases of the measles have been reported in Vancouver so far this year, 12 of them linked to a cluster of francophone public schools and three others contracted in Asia.

READ MORE: Two more measles cases reported in Vancouver, bringing outbreak total to 15

Measles, also called red measles or rubeola, is a highly contagious viral infection. Measles spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.

According to TPH, the virus can remain on surfaces and in the air for up to two hours after that person is gone from a room.

Symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, cough and red eyes, usually appear 10 days after contact with a person who is contagious.

Health officials say it is important to check your immunization record before any travel.

“We know that measles is circulating in Canada and beyond, and we expect to see travel related cases as March break is approaching,” Dubey said.

“Vaccination continues to be our main message to the public and includes infants six months of age and older to get an early MMR vaccine before travelling.”

Officials say those people who may have potentially been exposed are being asked to watch for signs and symptoms and to follow up with their health care provider.

VIDEO: Measles outbreak in Vancouver continues to spread

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