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'Unique' case of measles discovered in Ontario with unknown source of infection

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Health officials in York Region say they are investigating a “unique” case of measles as it is unknown how the man contracted the contagious disease.

In a news release on Thursday, York Region Public Health (YRPH) said the patient, who is in his 30s, had not travelled recently and had no contact with anyone ill.

He is the fourth confirmed case of measles in Ontario. The other three cases involved children who recently travelled abroad.

“YRPH is reaching out to known contacts who may have been exposed to this confirmed case of measles virus. Additional exposure locations are under investigation, and impacted contacts will be directly notified.”

YRPH also released the following list of locations where the public may have been exposed to the case:

  • Melt N Dip Restaurant (1018 Eglinton Ave. East #4 in Mississauga) on Feb. 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Mackenzie Health Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital (Main Waiting Area) Emergency Department (3200 Major Mackenzie Dr. West in Vaughan) on Feb. 26 from approximately 2:40 to 4:55 p.m.
  • Vellore Medical Clinic (10395 Weston Rd. in Woodbridge) on Feb. 26 from approximately 12:10 to 5:30 p.m.

YRPH advises anyone who may have been at these locations and times to immediately confirm they have been vaccinated against measles.

“If you were present at the above times and locations and you were with an infant under 6 months of age or are immunocompromised, please call York Region Public Health immediately as you may be eligible for preventive treatment.”

Measles is a highly contagious airborne infection and the virus can live in the air or on surfaces for up to two hours.

Symptoms, which start seven to 21 days after exposure, include high fever, cough, runny nose, red rash and red, watery eyes.

Last week, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, wrote a memo to local public health agencies, advising them to be prepared for more cases and potential outbreaks of measles due to rising infection in Europe.

As of Feb. 23, there are six active cases of measles in the country, with most involving unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children who travelled internationally, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“As we head into the spring break travel season, I am concerned that the global surge in measles activity, combined with the decline in measles vaccine coverage among school-aged children in Canada, could lead to an increase in imported measles cases, potentially resulting in transmission in communities in Canada. I strongly advise everyone in Canada to be vaccinated with two doses of a measles vaccine, especially before travelling,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement last week.

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