Saskatchewan health officials advise of measles risk

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Saskatchewan public health officials are advising residents to be aware of a recent outbreak of measles in southern Alberta.

Measles is a highly contagious virus and can cause serious health complications.

The cases in Alberta and a recent suspected case in Saskatchewan's Five Hills Health Region are linked to recent visits to or from the Netherlands. Measles outbreaks are occurring in other parts of the world, and transmission can occur through travellers to Canada.

“We want to minimize the risk of measles transmission, especially in light of frequent travel by people between southern Alberta and Saskatchewan,” Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said. “We encourage people to ensure their and their children’s immunizations are up to date, watch for signs and symptoms of measles, and see a care provider if they have concerns.”

Pre-school and school-aged children are recommended to have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine. Adults born after 1970 who travel frequently to areas with measles outbreaks are also recommended to have received two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Symptoms of measles include high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and spots in the mouth. A measles rash generally starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Further information about symptoms and treatment is available at www.health.gov.sk.ca/red-measles.

Residents can call HealthLine at 811 for advice related to measles or any other health concern. Those with measles symptoms are advised to call ahead if visiting a doctor or an emergency room so steps can be taken to avoid transmission.

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Alberta, Netherlands Southern Alberta

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