Probable measles outbreak in C-K

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The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is advising that an individual with probable measles (awaiting lab confirmation) may have exposed community members to the virus.

Results weren’t available by press time.

The Health Unit is advising people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles, as this list may not include all possible exposures.

According to health unit officials, measles is highly contagious and is spread through the air, close or direct contact with respiratory secretions, and through articles of clothing/bedding with infectious discharge present.

Complications of measles can include infections of the ear or brain, and in rare cases, death.

Individuals who have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine, or who have been previously infected with measles, or were born before 1970, are generally protected from infection.

Locations and times of possible exposures are Taco Bell in Chatham on March 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Wal-Mart in Chatham on March 19 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and the Sydenham campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance from 7 p.m. t0 12:30 a.m. on Sunday

The Health Unit is contacting individuals known to have been exposed to the virus who were at the latter location.

As a precaution, the community is being asked to watch for the signs and symptoms of measles and to follow the recommendations below when seeking health care should these develop.

Symptoms include fever, cough and runny nose, red, irritated eyes and light sensitivity, small white, grey or blue spots in the mouth, and a red, blotchy rash, which is the last symptom to appear. The rash appears on the face and then spreads down over the body, and will begin to fade after about a week.

If you develop symptoms, stay home and don’t allow others to visit for at least four days after the rash starts, call the Health Unit at 519-355-1071 ext. 5902 and contact your health-care provider by phone. If you need to visit a health-care provider, emergency department or walk-in clinic, call first and tell them you have measles symptoms. If you have general health questions or questions about your vaccination status, call the health unit. More information about measles, including signs and symptoms, how it spreads and how it can be prevented, is available from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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