We have a patient in our care at the Greater Niagara General Site who has tested positive for the measles. The patient is in isolation and is receiving appropriate care. All infection prevention and control measures are in place, and we are working closely with Occupational Health and Safety and Infection Prevention and Control at NHS as well as Niagara Region Public Health to ensure the safety and protection of all of our patients and of all those working in or visiting the hospital.
There are no indications that the illness has spread in the hospital, and we feel the risk to people visiting hospital now is very low. We are following up directly with any patients, staff or physicians who may have had contact with the patient to ensure they have been immunized or have immunity. Most people are immunized from the measles and are not at risk of contracting the illness. However, measles is a highly contagious illness, and presents a risk to anyone who has not been immunized.
Any member of the public who was on Unit C between 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, and 11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2, is asked to contact Niagara Region Public Health for follow up. Any other members of the public with concerns about exposure or risk are asked to contact their primary care provider. Any NHS staff or physician with concerns are asked to contact their manager or Occupational Health and Safety for assistance.
Questions and Answers about Measles
What is measles ("red measles", "rubeola")?
Measles is a very easily spread infection of the lungs (respiratory system) caused by a virus
What are the symptoms of measles?
The measles virus causes a fever, rash, cough, red watery eyes and a runny nose. The red rash starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Most people with measles are sick for up to 10 days and then recover completely. Symptoms are more severe for infants and adults. Measles can lead to ear infections, lung infection (pneumonia), an infection of the brain (encephalitis), and death. Pregnant women with measles can have premature delivery and miscarriages. Measles does not cause birth defects.
How can I get measles?
Measles is easily spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, spreading droplets that contain the virus into the air. Less commonly, particles from an infected person can stay in the air for long periods of time and infect others in the same room. Measles is one of the easiest viruses to spread from person to person. It is rarely seen in Canada now due to high vaccination rates.
When is someone with measles contagious?
People infected with measles can spread it to others 4 days before to 4 days after the rash appears.
Who is at risk of getting measles?
Infants under the age of 1 are most at risk because measles vaccine is not given until children are 1 year of age or older. Anyone born on or after January 1, 1970 who is not vaccinated and who has never had measles infection is at risk. People born before 1970 have likely developed immunity to the virus and may be protected; the exception is for health care workers, post-secondary students, military personnel and travelers who must ensure they have received measles-containing vaccine, or laboratory evidence of immunity, or a history of laboratory confirmed measles disease.
If I have been in contact with someone who had measles, how long before I can get symptoms?
Symptoms usually appear 10 days after contact with an infected individual but can range from 7 to 21 days. The rash usually appears 10-14 days after exposure.
What can I do to prevent measles?
If you were born since January 1st, 1970, getting vaccinated is the best way of preventing infection.
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada