Central Alberta reportedly remains measles free despite a recent outbreak in British Columbia and an infected person who passed through Alberta.
There is concern of an outbreak in the region due to the number of athletes and visitors in Red Deer for the 2019 Canada Winter Games, but athletes were advised to be up to date with immunizations before they came.
On Sunday, the Public Health Agency of Canada advised Alberta Health Services that someone with lab-confirmed measles visited Leduc on Feb. 12 and 13 while infectious.
That person travelled from Vancouver International Airport to Edmonton International Airport, visited Walmart in Leduc, and stayed at a Leduc hotel.
People who were in the same locations during the specified time, and who were born after 1970 and have not already contracted the disease, or have not received two doses of measles vaccine, may be at risk for developing measles.
Dr. Digby Horne, medical officer of health for AHS’s central zone, said the spread of measles from Leduc is possible, but it depends on how infectious the person was, what they did, where they were and for how long, and if they had contact with anyone susceptible to the disease.
Thirteen cases have been reported in B.C. in recent weeks. Most were linked to two French-language schools after an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a trip to Vietnam.
Concern is mostly due to the numerous outbreaks all over the world, Horne said.
“It’s really worldwide travel. Introduction can happen in a few hours.”
“There seems to have been a recent resurgence in global measles activity in the past few months. There seems to be an ongoing risk primarily of importation, but once we get our own domestic cases, we get domestic spread too.”
He said there have been occasional cases reported in Toronto, British Columbia and Quebec in recent years. The last outbreak in AHS’s central zone was in 2014, when there were rerportedly four cases.
“Vaccine is available at no charge. Everybody born since 1970 is eligible to have two doses,” Horne said.