June 29, 2013
For immediate release
Measles case confirmed in Prince Edward Island
Health and Wellness
Public health officials from the Department of Health and Wellness are investigating two cases of measles in the province. An adolescent youth on PEI has been diagnosed with laboratory confirmed measles. This case is now recovering in Hospital.
A family member showed symptoms of measles earlier in June after returning from Europe where measles outbreaks are occurring. This individual has since recovered and did not require hospitalization.
Neither patient has been vaccinated against measles.
“Measles spreads quickly, particularly in children and adults who aren’t vaccinated, said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison. The majority of Islanders follow the routine schedule of immunization; this protects not only themselves from getting the disease, but also helps to protect the general public by preventing future spread.”
Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air by coughing and sneezing. Initial symptoms may include fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and cough. After a few days, a rash appears on the head and spreads down to the trunk and limbs. Serious complications such as blindness, viral meningitis or pneumonia can occur. The Chief Public Health Office recommends that anyone with fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough, should stay at home and limit contact with others to avoid spreading illness. If you develop a rash or if your symptoms worsen, call your doctor or seek medical care. If you do seek medical care, call your doctor’s office or health care facility before you arrive so they can prepare for your visit and protect other patients from exposure.
Anyone born before 1970 or those who have had two doses of measles vaccine are considered immune.
It is important to note that the two patients are no longer contagious; however, the development of additional cases is now possible due to exposure to the measles virus in PEI. To prevent future spread, the Chief Public Health Office along with Public Health Nursing of Health PEI are reviewing the vaccination records of students at two Island schools, East Wiltshire Junior High School and Bluefield Senior High School, which were attended by the two patients. Fortunately, the vast majority of students at the affected schools are fully immunized for measles. Public Health Nursing will be working to contact individuals in the two schools to offer vaccine to those not fully immunized with two doses of measles vaccine over the next week.
Measles can be prevented by a measles vaccine, which is offered in Prince Edward Island as part of the standard immunization schedule at 12 and 18 months of age.
All individuals born since 1970 who have not received 2 doses of measles vaccine are encouraged to receive the vaccine.
The last laboratory confirmed case of measles in Prince Edward Island occurred in 1992. More information about measles is available at www.gov.pe.ca/health/measles