Editor’s note: Alberta Health Services originally said the infected patient visited the Strathcona County Health Centre emergency department on May 16/17 but has since issued a correction to say they actually visited the Strathcona Community Hospital. This story has been updated to reflect the new information. Then, On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services sent out an updated news release with two new possible exposure locations. This story was updated with all the locations.
Alberta Health Services came out with a warning Monday after a person with lab-confirmed measles attended a number of public places in Sherwood Park, Edmonton and Nisku over the past couple of weeks.
AHS said an adult infected with measles visited several locations between May 9 and 17.
Due to privacy concerns, AHS couldn’t release many details about the patient or exactly how they contracted measles.
“They likely contracted measles over travel abroad or travel outside of the North American environment and returned and then became ill shortly afterwards,” said Dr. Christopher Sikora, a medical officer of health with AHS.
“I think it highlights and serves as a reminder that communicable diseases — measles is one of these — is a simple plane ride away.”
On Monday, health officials warned people who attended the following locations on the following dates that they may have been exposed to the disease.
- May 9: Sherwood Park Mall between 3 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
- May 10: Sherwood Park Mall between 3 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
- May 11: Sherwood Park Mall between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
- May 11: Smile’s Village between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- May 15: Shoppers Drug Mart at 2020 Sherwood Drive between 9 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
- May 16: Carmacks Construction in Nisku between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- May 16/17: Strathcona Community Hospital between 8 p.m. May 16 and 5:30 p.m. May 17
- May 17: University of Alberta emergency department between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
On Wednesday, AHS said there were two additional locations the patient attended.
- May 9: Smilie’s Village between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- May 10: Oscar’s Pub between 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
People who visited the above locations on the above dates and have not received two doses of the MMR vaccine are encouraged to get vaccinated. However, AHS said people who were exposed between May 9 and May 17 are not eligible for the preventative vaccine as it wouldn’t be effective.
In particular, anyone who is pregnant, under one year old or has a weakened immune system and visited the Shoppers Drug Mart, Carmacks Construction, Strathcona County Health Centre or the University Of Alberta Hospital emergency department should contact Health Link at 811 for further assessment. AHS said these people could be eligible for prophylactic medication to prevent measles.
People are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of measles, which include:
- Fever of 38.3 C or higher
- Cough, runny nose, red eyes
- Red blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after fever starts, starting behind the ears and on the face and spreading down the body to the legs and arms
Watch below: Dr. Chris Sikora, medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services, explains some of the symptoms and outcomes of contracting measles. He also talks about how many cases Alberta has seen in the past few years.
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So far this year, three cases of measles have been reported in Alberta, according to AHS — two in Calgary and this case in the Edmonton region.
While AHS warned that a person infected with measles passed through Edmonton International Airport in February, health officials said Monday they don’t officially count it in the provincial tally.
“Over the last couple of years, we have had a few cases of measles in the Alberta environment. Last year, I think we had eight cases across Alberta,” Sikora explained.
“I believe, in 2017, we had two cases. Across North America there’s been hundreds of cases.”
Measles is a contagious disease that is easily spread through the air. There is no treatment for measles, but it can be prevented through immunization.
Measles vaccines are free in Alberta. Children typically received their first dose of measles vaccine when they are one. The second dose is typically administered between the ages of four and six.
“It’s easy, it’s safe, it’s very effective. It helps protect not just our little ones, our loved ones, but also our family members,” Sikora said. “As a health-care worker, it helps protect ourselves and the patients that we care for.”
Anyone who is uncertain of their immunization history can call Health Link at 811.
Watch below: A mom from England shared her story about her daughter contracting measles and how doctors misdiagnosed the child at first.