Fifth case of measles in Edmonton in infant too young for vaccine
Published Friday, April 25, 2014 10:45AM EDT
A fifth case of measles has been confirmed in the Edmonton area in an infant too young to be vaccinated.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) say the latest case is linked with an earlier one where a child on a Vancouver-to-Edmonton flight on April 9 was confirmed by officials of having measles. The child was a passenger on an Air Canada flight, and had arrived to Vancouver from the Philippines. A measles alert was issued for anyone who was at the Edmonton International Airport during the hours immediately after the plane had landed, and for passengers and crews on Air Canada Flight 248.
Officials say the latest patient, who is less than 12 months of age, is recovering at home, and does not pose a risk to the general public.
"At this point in time, it's not an official outbreak," Dr. Marcia Johnson, AHS's medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone, told reporters on Thursday.
Health officials say the latest case highlights the importance of immunization to protect vulnerable people.
"Quite simply, vulnerable individuals – such as infants too young to be immunized, or immune-compromised Albertans who can't be immunized – are dependent on the immunity of those around them," Dr. Gerry Predy, AHS's senior medical officer of health," said in a statement.
"Without proper immunization, Albertans are not only at risk of developing measles themselves; they are also putting these vulnerable individuals at great risk for diseases against which their bodies have no defense."
Measles is a highly contagious disease that has no known treatment. Symptoms of measles include a fever, cough, runny nose and/or red eyes, and a red, blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after a fever has started. That rash generally appears behind the ears and on the face, and can spread down the body to the arms and legs.
"Measles is not to be taken lightly. We are fortunate to have vaccine that can prevent this illness," Predy said.
In Alberta, children receive their first dose of measles vaccine at 12 months of age, and their second dose between the ages of four and six. Two doses are required to be fully protected from the disease.
Measles alert in Calgary
Meanwhile, health officials in Calgary are warning the public of possible measles exposure after the eighth case this year was confirmed on Thursday.
Dr. Judy MacDonald, AHS's medical officer for the Calgary zone, said the patient is an employee of Asian Buffet restaurant in the city's southwest end.
"When the case was infectious, (the patient) was at a number of restaurants," MacDonald told CTV Calgary. "Patrons of any of those restaurants may have been exposed to measles."
A full list of Calgary-area restaurants where patrons may have been infected from April 9 to 17 is listed on the AHS website.
With files from CTV Edmonton and CTV Calgary