Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Man with measles prompts provincial health alert

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A rural Manitoba man in his 40s has been hospitalized with measles, sparking a provincial health alert.

The province said the man lives in the area covered by the Interlake-Eastern Health Authority.

Quick tips

How to reduce the spread of measles

Ensure immunizations are up to date.

Wash 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.

Stay home when sick.

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On Friday, the province provided a list of public places the man visited while he was believed to have been contagious.

Those include:

-- The Manitoba Winter Games badminton tournament in Winkler, March 7-8.

-- The 204 Volleyball and Ice Time Sports 14-and-under tournament March 8 at Monroe and John Henderson junior high schools in Winnipeg.

-- The University of Manitoba Bison volleyball tournament in Winnipeg, March 9.

-- The Victoria General Hospital emergency department in Winnipeg, March 9 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

-- The Selkirk General Hospital emergency department in Selkirk, March 10 at 7 p.m.

The government said people who attended these events or locations who think they might have measles or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with measles, should phone their health-care provider or phone Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.

Measles is spread through droplets in the air formed when an infected person coughs or sneezes. An infected person can spread the virus from four days before the rash appears and up to four days afterwards. 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).

Immunization is the only means of protecting yourself and your family against the virus.

In Canada, measles activity is currently being reported by British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, mostly related to ongoing outbreaks in the Philippines and the Netherlands.

In Manitoba, a two-dose measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine program was introduced in 1996. Vaccines are provided for children who are at least one year of age and again when they're four to six years old.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2014 A12

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