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April 10, 2008
Measles outbreak continues in Toronto
Toronto Public Health is continuing to investigate a measles outbreak in the city, and has now confirmed a fifth case in the past four weeks. In Toronto, an average of three cases per year was reported over the last decade.
During the course of the investigation, Toronto Public Health has determined that four of the five cases are linked to the Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Rd. This most recent case was at the Ontario Science Centre while contagious with measles.
Toronto Public Health is asking anyone who was at the Ontario Science Centre on Wednesday, April 2 before 1:30 p.m. to watch for symptoms of measles. Symptoms include: cough, runny nose, fever, white spots in the mouth and red watery eyes that are sensitive to light. These symptoms are followed by a red rash which lasts about six days.
If symptoms develop, seek medical attention. Be sure to call ahead and advise the medical facility that you may have been exposed to measles.
Most people who get measles are sick for about 10 days, and recover completely without any treatment. Measles can be more severe for infants, pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system. This outbreak is a good reminder for everyone to review their vaccination records.
The risk to the general public is considered low because of Canada’s high immunization rates and high immunity among the population. Those born before 1970 likely had measles in childhood, and are therefore protected. The immunization rate for measles vaccine among school-aged children in Toronto is 98.6 per cent. Those born after 1970, who have not been vaccinated and who were exposed are most at risk.
Measles is highly contagious and spread by droplets and direct contact with nasal and throat secretions of an infected person. Measles can also be spread through the air. A person with measles can infect others from four days before to four days after the onset of rash.
Further updates on the measles outbreak will be posted to the Toronto Public Health website.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.
Toronto Public Health Media Relations, 416-338-7974
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