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Manitoba sees two new cases of measles

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Two more cases of measles have been confirmed in Manitoba, bringing the total this year to four.

One of the newly reported cases is a teenage boy who lives in the Southern Health region, while the other is a woman in her 40s from Winnipeg.

Public health officials are investigating the cases to identify persons who may have come in contact with the individuals.

They say that people who were at the following locations should be aware of the possibility of infection:

  • Polo Park Shopping Centre, Saturday March 22 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.;
  • St. Vital Shopping Centre, Saturday March 22 between 1:30 and 2 p.m.; and
  • St. Boniface General Hospital emergency room between 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday March 26 and 11:30 p.m. on Thursday March 27.

People who visited these locations and think they might have measles or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with measles should contact their doctor or call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.

Manitoba Health: information about measles

Measles 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 it is seen. The disease tends to be more severe in infants and young children, and can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of measles generally appear seven to 21 days after exposure.

Initial symptoms may include fever, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability and red eyes. 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).

Provincial officials say immunization is the best way to protect oneself from measles.

Vaccines are provided for children who are at least one year of age and a second dose is given when aged four to six. The effectiveness of a single dose of measles vaccine given at 12 or 15 months of age is estimated to be 85 to 95 per cent. With a second dose, efficacy is almost 100 per cent.

Adults born before 1970 are generally presumed to have acquired natural immunity to measles, however, some may be susceptible. Adults born in 1970 or later who do not have a record showing they received a measles vaccine, or who have not had a history of laboratory‑confirmed measles infection, should be immunized, officials said.

Possible exposure sites for measles

History

Updated on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 4:03 PM CDT: Adds map.

4:49 PM: Corrects days of week.

5:17 PM: Adds information on measles.

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