AHS encourages public to be sure immunization for measles up to date

Due to a significantly higher than usual number of cases of measles in Canada this year, Alberta Health is encouraging

Due to a significantly higher than usual number of cases of measles in Canada this year, Alberta Health is encouraging the public to be sure their immunization is up to date.

There have been no reported cases of measles in any of the schools in Rimbey, but if the illness is identified in a school population, AHS public health staff will immediately initiate efforts to identify at-risk students and staff.

Measles is an extremely contagious and potentially severe illness which is of greatest risk to children and young adults who have not received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine.

In addition to fever, ear infections, rash and pneumonia, some rare complications can also occur such as swelling of the brain, seizures and death.

In Alberta, measles-containing vaccine is available free of charge through Alberta’s publicly funded immunization program at local public health clinics.

Children should receive their first dose of measles-containing vaccine at 12 months of age, and their second dose between the ages of four and six years.

Anyone who was born in 1970 or later is susceptible if they meet the following criteria:

  • lack of documented evidence of immunization with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine given at appropriate intervals, on or after the first birthday
  • lack of serological proof of immunity
  • lack of laboratory evidence of prior measles infection

Individuals born before 1970 are generally considered immune due to measles disease that was circulating at that time.

AHS advises susceptible student and staff who were born in 1970 or later to contact their local public health office or Health Link Alberta (1-866-408-5465) to discuss immunization opportunities.

A susceptible person who develops symptoms such as a fever of 38.3 C, a cough or runny nose or red eyes and a red blotchy rash should stay home from school.

Albertans who are not sure of their immunization history or their child’s immunization history can call their local public health office or Health Link Alberta for more information.

For answers to common questions regarding measles and measles Active Health Advisories visit the website at www.albertahealthservices.ca/9842.asp