EASTERN ONTARIO — No local measles cases have yet turned up within the five-county jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), which says it is “monitoring the situation” after an individual was diagnosed with the highly contagious respiratory sickness in neighbouring Ottawa late last week.
The EOHU has been in contact with its urban counterpart — Ottawa Public Health (OPH) — and plans to communicate “with any residents that have been identified as potentially having been exposed.”
The EOHU reminds the public to ensure that they and their children are up-to-date with their measles vaccinations. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU, urges residents to keep their vaccinations up-to-date not just to protect themselves, but to protect others who can’t be vaccinated – including infants. “Measles is extremely contagious and can be very serious for people who aren’t vaccinated,” the doctor says. “It can be especially dangerous for infants who are too young to be vaccinated, and for adults who have compromised immune systems.”
Health authorities emphasize the vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent getting or spreading measles.
There is no declared measles outbreak in the areas covered by the EOHU and OPH. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control counts six outbreak areas and at least 387 cases south of the border — in a country that “eliminated” the disease in 2000. Declining vaccination rates are believed to have played a role in measles’ resurgence.
Meanwhile, OPH says its single case involved someone who recently travelled internationally. Individuals may have been exposed to the virus spread by that person if they were in the following areas on the dates indicated:
- March 26, 2019, 10 am – 6 pm: 40 Hines Rd – lobby, elevator or ground floor
- March 27, 2019, 10 am – 3:30 pm: 40 Hines Rd – lobby, elevator or ground floor
- March 27, 2019, 5:30 pm – 9 pm: Real Canadian Superstore, 760 Eagleson Rd
- March 27, 2019, 5:30 pm – 9 pm: Ottawa West Medical Centre, 760 Eagleson Rd 2nd floor
- March 30, 2019, 1:00 pm – 5:45 pm: Queensway Carleton Hospital Emergency Department
- April 2, 2019, 9:00 am – noon: Queensway Carleton Hospital Ambulatory Care
OPH advises all individuals who were present at these locations, at the times listed, to check their immunization records or contact their health care provider if they are unsure about their immunization status.
If you were at those location at those times and you fall into one of the following categories, please contact OPH at 613-580-6744:
- Born in or after 1970 AND never received a measles-containing vaccine or;
- Have a weakened immune system or;
- Are pregnant or;
- Work in the health care or child care sector or;
- Had a child under the age of 1 year with you when you visited one of the above locations.
Measles vaccine is administered routinely to children at 12 months of age with a booster between 4 and 6 years old. Infants between 6 and 12 months of age can be vaccinated if they are travelling to outbreak areas or if they have been exposed to a case of measles.
The vaccine is available free of charge at healthcare providers’ offices and by appointment at the EOHU — call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120.