Third measles case confirmed in Central Alberta

The number for Central Alberta measles cases confirmed in April is now three.

The number for Central Alberta measles cases confirmed in April is now three.

Alberta Health Services had announced single “probable” cases on April 4 and 11 occurring in the Central Zone, with the latter individual thought to have contracted the virus after visiting an “exposure site” that the first individual visited in late March.

Now, AHS has confirmed another case, connected to sites visited by the second individual in early April. Those possible exposure locations are:

l Mattie McCullough Elementary School, 26 Lawford Ave. in Red Deer, from 8:40 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on April 4, 8 and 9.

l Abbey Master Builder Centre, 4500 Womacks Road, the recreation centre in Blackfalds, from noon to 3 p.m. on April 5.

l Village Mall Medical Clinic, 22 6320 50th Ave. in Red Deer, from 8:10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on April 9.

The inclusion of Mattie McCullough Elementary School on that list has kept dozens of students who are not fully immunized against measles out of school since April 11. AHS has issued mandatory exclusion orders to any student or teacher who has either not received or cannot provide documentation showing they have received two doses of the measles vaccine; have never been infected with the disease; or for whom a blood test does not indicate immunity from measles.

No further cases have been identified from Mattie McCullough, but AHS Central Zone medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said signs of illness would likely only start showing up late this week.

Hinshaw said there are no additional public exposure sites to report connected to the newest case. She said those most recently afflicted are in stable condition, and none remain in hospital.

The fresh cases bring to six the number of cases in the Central Zone in 2014. It is believed that the local strain was imported by a traveller who had visited the Philippines.

Measles, which is extremely contagious, can lead to pneumonia and, in rare cases, death. Symptoms include a fever of 38.3C or higher, a cough, runny nose and/or red eyes and a red blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after the fever starts.

A two-dose measles vaccine is recommended for everyone born in 1970 or after. People born before then are considered likely to be immune. Vaccination is offered free of charge through Alberta’s immunization program.

Anyone with symptoms should call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 before visiting any health-care facility.

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