The outbreak of measles in Saint John has now reached double digits.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, announced on Wednesday that they have confirmed two more cases of measles in the Saint John area, bringing the total to 11 this season.
Both of the cases announced on Wednesday have been linked to a previously confirmed case at Kennebecasis Valley High School, where there were nine confirmed cases.
“At this time, we are asking people who may have come into contact with these individuals to stay at home, watch for symptoms, call 811 if you think you have symptoms of measles,” she said. “We don’t want you to present to an emergency department or a doctor’s office or clinic without first having called ahead.”
On Friday, public health officials issued a directive that staff and students at the high school must receive a measles booster shot if they want to continue working and studying at the school.
As of Monday, more than 950 students and staff had been given the vaccine, and it was still available to the final few people who had not received it.
The first case in Saint John was confirmed last month in an individual who had recently travelled internationally.
Russell said more than 2,000 people have been informed they may have been exposed to the measles virus. She said the outbreak is tying up resources and staff who are working long hours in the effort to contact people.
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The New Brunswick Community College reported a suspected case of the measles earlier in May, but tests came back negative.
The measles virus is transmitted through the air or by direct contact with an infected person. Measles can be more severe in adults and infants and can lead to complications.
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore and/or red eyes, runny nose or tiny white spots in the mouth. Within three to seven days, a red blotchy rash will appear, first on the face and then spreading to the body, arms and legs.
The president of the New Brunswick Medical Society said Tuesday he would not be surprised if the number of cases increases.
Health Department officials say they need to count 40 consecutive days without new cases in order to consider the outbreak over.
With files from The Canadian Press