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Outbreak doesn't stop shoppers

Moms, dads not deterred by measles

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Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press 
Michelle Lagadi, with her son, Ethan, said she won't avoid potential transmission settings such as the Sobeys on Dakota Street.

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Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Michelle Lagadi, with her son, Ethan, said she won't avoid potential transmission settings such as the Sobeys on Dakota Street.

A measles outbreak in Manitoba isn't stopping folks from going about their daily lives.

And parents with young kids showed no hesitation at all to shop Saturday at St. Vital-area stores provincial officials have identified as sites where the virus could have been transmitted earlier this month.

"Some people get sick. I'm sure they took the appropriate steps to clean and sanitize everything," said Don Winsor after he and his young sons, Ethan, 6, and Dylan, 3, exited Hair Do Zoo at 845 Dakota St.

Manitoba Health says the children-themed salon was one of a handful of "potential transmission setting(s)" for measles in Winnipeg on April 11, 12 and 14 during daytime and some evening hours.

It's believed a worker was one of seven Manitobans who had contracted the illness.

'I don't think it's something we need to panic about, but it does shed light on the importance of vaccinations.'

Officials released the possible transmission locations Friday in an effort to alert the general public, especially the 15 to 20 per cent of Manitobans who are not vaccinated.

The locations are now considered safe.

"There's absolutely no worries about going back there," said mother Julie Dubois.

She was aware the salon had been listed as a potential transmission site prior to going there with her son, Xavier, 2.

Both Dubois and Winsor separately said their children had been vaccinated for measles. "I think that's the responsible thing to do."

Dubois praised health officials for keeping the public informed. She said events have reinforced in her mind the importance of keeping vaccinations up to date.

A UPS store and Shoppers Drug Mart located at the same shopping plaza as Hair Do Zoo were also prospective transmission sites identified by the province, as was a April 12 bull-riding event at the MTS Centre.

A few blocks south of the kids' salon, shoppers jammed into a Sobeys store listed as a site of transmission on April 13 from noon to 5 p.m.

Michelle Lagadi, an intensive-care nurse and mother to a nine-year-old son, Ethan, admitted that made her "a little bit nervous."

Not nervous to the point she was avoiding the store, however.

"I don't think it's something we need to panic about," she said. "But it does shed light on the importance of vaccinations."

Lagadi shares some concerns about vaccinations, but agreed their benefits appear to outweigh any costs. "That's how we eradicated certain diseases," Lagadi said.

Measles is largely transmitted through saliva, sweat and coughing, Manitoba Health medical officer Dr. Tim Hilderman said Friday. It tends to be more severe -- possibly life-threatening -- for infants and young children.

The health ministry is advising people who visited any of the locations and think they may have contracted measles to phone their health care provider or Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 for additional information.

Initial symptoms of measles -- including fever, runny nose and red eyes -- generally appear a week to 21 days after exposure, Manitoba Health says. Several days after these initial symptoms, the virus's signature "red blotchy rash" appears on the face and progresses down the body, officials say.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2014 A3

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