Ottawa – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) are encouraging residents to ensure their measles immunizations are up to date following the confirmation of one case of measles in Gatineau. OPH was notified of the measles case in an unimmunized child who was seen at CHEO. The source of the case is suspected to be from international travel.
OPH has notified approximately 50 families that were potentially exposed while at CHEO. OPH has already followed up individually with all of these contacts by inquiring about their immunization status, advising them to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of measles and to tell their health care practitioner that they have recently been exposed to measles.
“We have a well immunized population and most people have protection from measles,” said Dr. Carolyn Pim, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “OPH has alerted local physicians and hospitals of the case and is asking them to ensure all patients’ immunizations are up to date and to increase their awareness of possible symptoms of measles.”
OPH is treating this as an isolated case and there are no other reported cases at the present time. The last case of measles reported in Ottawa was in January 2011. Measles is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Measles is more severe in adults and infants than in children and can lead to ear infections, pneumonia and swelling of the brain.
“The risk to the public is very limited,” said Dr. Lindy Samson, Chief of Infectious Diseases at CHEO. “Immunization is the best protection from measles. Everyone should ensure that their vaccines are up to date.”
The reported incidence of measles in Ottawa is very low as most of the population has been vaccinated. Despite the rarity of this disease in Ottawa, it is very important for all residents to keep their vaccinations up to date.
Symptoms of measles:
- Early symptoms of measles may include fever, cough, and tiny white spots in the mouth.
- Within 3 to 7 days, a red blotchy rash will appear, first on the face and then spreading to the body, arms and legs.
- If you believe that you have measles, you should isolate yourself by staying home. Call before visiting your doctor so they can take precautions to protect other patients.
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. For additional information on measles
and immunization, visit ottawa.ca/health
or call Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656).