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120 to 200 people may have been exposed to measles: York public health

No further cases of the highly contagious virus have been identified to date
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More than 120 people, and possibly as many as 200 people, may have been exposed to last week's confirmed case of measles in Newmarket and Richmond Hill, according to York Region Public Health.

However, no additional cases of the highly contagious virus have been identified to date, said Scott Cholewa, manager of control of infectious diseases for the Regional Municipality of York. 

Since two of the three locations identified were health care centres, Cholewa said records are readily available for the individuals who attended them at the time of the possible exposure April 10 to 15.

The reason for the large range of numbers for potential exposure is because records are not available for the persons who may have accompanied the individuals seeking care at Southlake Regional Health Centre's emergency department and Fountain Medical and Wellness Centre.

Southlake and York Region Public Health are continuing to compile those details as they make contact with patients by phone calls and letters to notify them of the possible exposure. 

The case of measles was confirmed last week for a senior who had been travelling in Southeast Asia, which is an atypical occurrence, Cholewa said.

Usually, people born before 1970 are immune to measles, having been exposed to the disease at a young age, he added.

Anyone with symptoms of measles, which can include high fever, a cough, runny nose, sore eyes or sensitivity to light, small spots in the mouth or throat and a red rash that begins on the face and moves down the body, should seek health care immediately, Cholewa said.

It typically takes seven to 21 days after exposure for symptoms to occur, he added.

The confirmed case is a reminder for all residents to check immunization records to ensure they and family members are protected with the measles vaccination (MMR or MMRV), he said.

Two doses of the vaccination are required for it to be effective, one within the first year following birth, followed by a second at ages four to six years, he said.

Even if you are up-to-date with your measles vaccination, watch for symptoms of measles until May 6, 2019. In rare cases, an infection can occur in a person who has received vaccinations.

York Region Public Health maintains immunization records, which individuals, parents and guardians — not physicians — are required to report, Cholewa added.

If immunization records are not available, your family physician can order bloodwork to determine immunity.

Individuals who attended or worked at the following locations during the identified times listed below may have been exposed to measles:

Nando’s Restaurant
9625 Yonge St., Unit 5, Richmond Hill
Wednesday, April 10 from 2:35 to 4:55 p.m.

Fountain Medical and Wellness Centre (including the Rexall Pharmacy and waiting areas for Advanced Cardiology, Altima Wellness Centre and The Interventional Pain Specialists Clinic)
9625 Yonge St., Unit 2, Richmond Hill
Wednesday, April 10 from 1:15 to 4:40 p.m.
Friday, April 12 from 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
 
Southlake Regional Health Centre - Emergency Department
596 Davis Dr., Newmarket
Sunday, April 14 from 5:30 p.m. to Monday, April 15 at 5:45 a.m.

If you were not at any of these locations during the above dates and times, you are not considered at risk for this measles exposure.

Infants under one year of age, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles. These individuals are encouraged to call the York Region Public Health measles information line at 1-877-464-9675, ext. 77280.       

If you have symptoms, call the health care provider or facility in advance of visiting to help limit further exposure of the measles virus.

For more information about measles, visit york.ca/health or contact York Region Public Health’s measles information line at 1-877-464-9675, ext. 77280.




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Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is NewmarketToday's community editor. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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