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May 22, 2008
Potential measles exposure at Toronto hospital
  
Toronto Public Health has determined that an individual contagious with measles may have inadvertently exposed other people to the illness at North York General Hospital. This case is connected to the ongoing measles outbreak, which began in March. Fifteen cases have been confirmed and a number of others are being investigated. Measles outbreaks have been reported in several other municipalities throughout Ontario and in parts of the United States and Europe.

Toronto Public Health is working with the hospital to contact those people known to have been exposed. However, as a precaution, Toronto Public Health is also asking the following people to call 416-338-7600 for assessment and follow-up:

• pregnant women, those who have a weakened immune system and individuals who were with a child less than one year of age at the hospital at the times and locations below

• any individual who is a health care worker (who does not work at North York General Hospital) or works with children and visited the hospital at the times and locations below

Emergency Room, Yellow Zone
May 13 from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Ultra Sound Room and waiting area
May 13 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Main Cafeteria
May 13 from noon to 3:30 p.m.

Emergency Room/Triage Area
May 16 from 9:30 p.m. to May 17 at 5 p.m.

Anyone else who may have been exposed on the dates and times above should watch for signs and symptoms of the virus, as listed below. If you develop any of these symptoms before June 7, please consult your family doctor. Do not go to your doctor’s office or any medical facility without phoning ahead to inform them that you have been in contact with someone diagnosed with measles. If you develop symptoms of measles, stay home. Do not go to work, school or day care or attend public places until four days after the appearance of the rash. Call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 if you develop measles.

Measles is rarely seen in Canada due to our high vaccination rates. Individuals born before 1970 and those who have received at least one dose of measles vaccine (usually given as Measles Mumps and Rubella or MMR vaccine) are considered immune. However, two doses of the vaccine provide the best protection.

If you have not been vaccinated or have received only one dose of MMR vaccine, Toronto Public Health recommends that you talk to your doctor and get fully vaccinated.

Measles is a highly contagious and airborne virus that is also spread by droplets and direct contact with nasal and throat secretions of an infected person. A person with measles can infect others from four days before to four days after the onset of rash.

Symptoms include: cough, runny nose, high fever (over 39°C), 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.

Visit Toronto Public Health’s website at http://www.toronto.ca/health for further updates.

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.

Media contact:
Susan Sperling, Media Relations Co-ordinator, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974, 416-896-7867 (cell), ssperli@toronto.ca


 

 

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