News Releases

Media Bulletin - Chief Medical Officer

June 28, 2019

TRAVEL-RELATED MEASLES CASE CONFIRMED IN MANITOBA



The chief provincial public health officer confirmed today that a travel-related case of measles has been reported in Manitoba.
 
The individual lives in the area of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and is recovering in hospital.  The man, in his 30s, is believed to have contracted the virus while travelling outside the country in the Philippines. 
 
While the risk of transmission is low, people who were at the following locations on the dates and times listed below may have been exposed to measles:
  • Philippines Airlines flight PR 116 from Manila to Vancouver on June 24;
  • Vancouver International Airport customs area and baggage area from 5:15 p.m. (Pacific time) to 7 p.m. (Pacific time) on June 24;
  • WestJet flight WJ 458 from Vancouver to Winnipeg on June 24;
  • Winnipeg Richardson International Airport arrivals and baggage claim on June 25 from midnight until 2 a.m.;
  • Assiniboine Clinic on Tuesday, June 25 between 2 and 6 p.m.; and
  • Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg adult emergency department waiting room on Tuesday, June 25 from approximately 4:45 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. 
Pregnant women, people who have severely compromised immune systems and infants under 12 months of age are at higher risk of complications.  Treatment to prevent measles may be recommended for these individuals if given within six days of exposure. 
 
People or parents of infants in these categories who believe they may been exposed based on the information above should contact Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for further direction.
 
Although the risk of transmission is low, other Manitoba individuals who are not immunized for measles and are concerned they may have been exposed to measles at the locations listed above are encouraged to contact their health-care provider or Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.  Immunization administered within 72 hours of exposure may prevent disease, and is recommended after 72 hours to prevent disease from future exposures.
 
Measles is a highly infectious, communicable disease that is spread through droplets in the air formed when coughing or sneezing.  An infected person can spread the virus from four days before the rash appears to four days after.  The disease tends to be more severe in infants and young children, and can be life threatening.
 
All people, regardless of their immunization status, who may have been exposed to measles should monitor for symptoms for 21 days after the exposure date.  Symptoms to watch for include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, drowsiness, irritability and red eyes followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.  Small white spots may also develop on the inside of the mouth or throat.
 
Several days after the initial symptoms, a red blotchy rash appears on the face and progresses down the body.  Measles can lead to complications including ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia (lung infection) and encephalitis (brain inflammation).
 
If you think you may have measles and are visiting a physician or health-care provider, it is best to call ahead and make an appointment so health-care staff can take steps to reduce the exposure of other people to the virus.
 
Those who are not immunized or who have never had the measles infection are at highest risk of measles and should get the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine.  The vaccine is safe and highly effective.  
 
Immunization is the only means of protecting yourself and your family.  Contact an immunization provider such as a physician, nurse practitioner or local public health office to make sure you and your family are up to date.
 
In Manitoba, a two-dose measles vaccine program was introduced in 1996.  Vaccines for measles/mumps/rubella/varicella (MMR or MMRV) are provided for children who are at least one year of age and again when aged four to six.
 
To reduce the spread of measles, people can:
  • ensure immunizations are up to date,
  • wash their hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available,
  • avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils,
  • cover coughs and sneezes with the forearm or a tissue, and
  • stay home when sick.
Public health officials will continue to monitor the situation in Manitoba and provide updated information as necessary.
 
For information on the measles, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/diseases/measles.html.
 
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