Residents warned of possible measles exposure at Pearson Airport and in Hamilton children’s hospital

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Published February 28, 2024 at 1:06 pm

measles cases rise canada CP photo

People who were in Pearson Airport, Brantford General Hospital and the McMaster Children’s Hospital emergency department earlier this month are being advised to monitor their health, as they may have been exposed to measles. 

Hamilton Public Health and the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) recently announced that a child with a confirmed case of measles was present in a number of locations while infected. The patient, a child, was reportedly infected while in Europe.

They are currently hospitalized. 

BCHU says the child was in the following locations:

  • Lufthansa Flight 6584 from London Heathrow, United Kingdom to Pearson International Airport, on Feb. 23 between the hours of 3 p.m. (local London time) and 5:55 p.m. (local Toronto time).
  • Pearson International Airport – Terminal 1 on Feb. 23, 2024, between 5:55 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Brantford General Hospital – Emergency Department on Feb. 23, 2024, between 8 p.m. and 2:02 a.m.
  • McMaster Children’s Hospital – Emergency Department on Feb. 24, 2024, between the hours of 6:51 a.m. to 2:09 p.m.

The health agency says measles is highly contagious and spreads quickly to people who have not been vaccinated or who have not previously had the disease. Infants under one year of age, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are at risk of becoming seriously ill with measles if infected. 

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease, with an MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot offered to all children in Ontario at 12 months of age and again between four and six years of age. 

Hamilton Public Health says symptoms typically begin seven to 21 days after infection and may include a fever of 38.8 C (101 F) or higher, cough, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability, red, watery eyes, small white spots (Koplik’s spots) inside the mouth and throat and a red, blotchy rash that breaks out three-to-seven days from the onset of symptoms. 

If you believe you have been exposed to measles, you are advised to call Public Health Services at 905-546-6170 and speak with a nurse who can assess your risk of developing measles. 

Public health also recommends that you monitor yourself for signs and symptoms of measles for 21 days after the date of exposure and check your immunization record and the records of family members. If you are unsure if you are vaccinated or up-to-date on your vaccination, speak with your doctor. 

Two doses are generally recommended for anyone born after 1969. Public health says those born before 1970 are considered protected against measles. That said, anyone exposed should monitor for symptoms, regardless of vaccination status. 

“We are seeing a rise in measles cases around the world, and increased risk at home,”  Dr. Brendan Lew, Associate Medical Officer of Health, said in a statement.

“Measles is a serious preventable threat that can impact lives at any age. We can combat the spread of measles through education, vaccination and vigilant public health measures. It is strongly recommended that everyone be vaccinated with two doses of a measles vaccine, especially before travelling.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its previous version to include more information. 

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