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May 8, 2008
Measles continues to circulate in Toronto
The measles outbreak that began earlier this spring continues with four new cases reported to Toronto Public Health in the past several days. Nine cases of the illness have been reported since the start of this investigation. There are currently outbreaks in other municipalities in Ontario and in parts of Europe and the United States as well.

“All of the new cases either live or work downtown,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Director of Communicable Disease Control for Toronto Public Health. “Anyone born before 1970 likely had measles in childhood, and is therefore protected. Everyone else should ensure they have had two doses of measles vaccine for full protection, especially as we know measles is circulating in Toronto.”

Toronto Public Health is contacting those individuals who are known to have had direct exposure to a measles case.

Measles is rarely seen in Canada due to this country’s high vaccination rates. Toronto usually gets about three cases each year. Individuals born between 1970 and 1995 were routinely given only one dose of measles vaccine in childhood, and Toronto Public Health is recommending that those people receive a second dose.

“Complete and up-to-date vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and your family from communicable diseases like measles,” Dr. Yaffe added. “Prior to universal immunization in the 1970s, Canada saw thousands of cases of measles each year.”

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 the Toronto Public Health website at 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, Toronto Public Health Media Relations, 416-338-7974,



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