This week, the KFL&A Public Health issued a notice asking all residents to ensure that they are immunized against measles, citing confirmation of active cases of measles in Ontario as close as Ottawa.
All the cases identified in the province so far have been traced to travel in the Philippines by unimmunized individuals.
Risk of infection of the measles is considered low for people who have received two doses of measles vaccine, those born before 1970, and anyone who has been previously infected with it. Public Health states that everyone else should review their immunization record to ensure they have had two doses of measles vaccine.
“Measles can result in serious complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, brain infections, and, sometimes, death,” said the medical officer of health for KFL&A Public Health, Dcotor Ian Gemmill. “As this disease spreads quickly and efficiently through air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes, it is especially important to make sure that you are immunized.”
Residents can get the measles vaccine by calling their family physician or by visiting a KFL&A Public Health clinic. Drop-in immunization clinics take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 11:30am at the Kingston office of KFL&A Public Health (221 Portsmouth Avenue) or you can book an appointment online for a Wednesday evening clinic.
According to a KFL&A Public Health release, symptoms of measles include:
- fever, cough and runny nose,
- red, irritated eyes and light sensitivity,
- small white, grey or blue spots in the mouth, and
- red, blotchy rash, which is the last symptom to appear. The rash appears on the face and then spreads down over the body, and will begin to fade after about a week.
People who have developed symptoms are asked to stay home and not allow others to visit for at least four days after the rash starts. You should also contact your health care provider by phone and,if you need to visit a health care provider, phone their office first to inform them that you are experiencing measles symptoms.
For more information about measles, how it is spread and how to prevent it, visit the KFL&A Public Health Information Sheet (pdf) on the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Additional information can be found on Dr. Gemmill’s most recent blog post.
Image (Histopathology of measles pneumonia) source: Wikimedia Commons