RED DEER – Measles disease activity in both the Central and Calgary Zones of Alberta Health Services (AHS) has decreased to such an extent as to meet criteria necessary to lift the measles outbreak first declared on April 29, 2014. As such, effective immediately, AHS has declared this measles outbreak over in the Central and Calgary Zones of AHS. This outbreak declaration remains in effect at this time in the Edmonton Zone of AHS.
Though standard measles surveillance and follow-up work undertaken by AHS will continue across all Zones, temporary changes to the routine childhood immunization schedule – implemented for the duration of this outbreak only – are no longer in effect in Central and Calgary Zones.
Specifically, effective immediately, AHS will no longer offer an early additional dose of measles vaccine to infants six months of age to less than 12 months of age who are living in or travelling to the Central or Calgary Zones of AHS. This additional early dose of measles vaccine was recommended while the outbreak was active in both of these Zones as a means of offering short-term added protection during that time of increased risk of exposure to disease.
As the outbreak declaration has been lifted in Central and Calgary Zones, requests for early additional doses of measles vaccine will no longer be accommodated in either Zone. Appointments (for this additional early dose) that had already been booked prior to June 12, 2014, will be honored in both Zones, going forward. Additionally, infants travelling to Edmonton Zone or any other areas (within Canada or abroad) in which measles outbreaks are occurring, will also remain eligible to receive an additional early dose of vaccine if this travel cannot be avoided.
A measles outbreak can be declared over when 42 consecutive days have passed since the last date of infectiousness of the last confirmed case of measles in a Zone, and no new cases of measles have been confirmed in that Zone in that same 42 day period.
Although it has been more than 42 days since the last date of infectiousness of the last confirmed cases of measles in both Central and Calgary Zones, and no new cases of measles have been confirmed in either of these Zones, measles does continue to circulate in Alberta and worldwide. Without immunization, Albertans may be at risk of contracting this potentially severe illness.
AHS continues to advise all Albertans to ensure they are up to date on their immunizations, including measles vaccine.
Measles vaccine is available, free of charge, through Alberta’s publicly-funded immunization program:
- All Albertans born in or after 1970 require two documented doses of measles vaccine, to be protected.
- Children in Alberta are recommended to receive these two doses of measles vaccine, administered at 12 months of age and between four and six years of age.
- Infants who received an additional early dose of measles vaccine during the outbreak must still receive both of these routinely recommended doses (at 12 months of age and between four and six years of age) to be protected against measles.
Additionally, Alberta children age four and older who are attending daycares/dayhomes and schools, and who have not yet received their second dose of measles vaccine, are recommended to receive this second dose as soon as possible. By ensuring children who attend daycares/dayhomes and schools receive this second dose as close to the age of four as possible, the ongoing risk of these children being excluded from these facilities if exposed to measles is greatly reduced.
Albertans uncertain about their immunization history, or their child’s immunization history, are reminded to contact their local public health office or Health Link Alberta (1.866.408.5465) to discuss immunization needs.
For more information on the measles outbreak and measles disease in Alberta, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/measles or call Health Link Alberta (1.866.408.5465).
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.