Measles outbreak declared in Calgary, Edmonton and central Alberta

Dr. Marcia Johnson, Edmonton Zone Medical Officer of Health, speaks about a new case of measles...

Dr. Marcia Johnson, Edmonton Zone Medical Officer of Health, speaks about a new case of measles during a media conference at Coronation Plaza in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, April 25, 2014. The new case, involving an infant, brings the total cases in Edmonton to 6. Anyone experiencing measles symptoms is asked to contact Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465. Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun

Allison Salz, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:27 PM ET

EDMONTON — With new cases of measles popping up steadily over the past few weeks, Alberta health officials have officially declared an outbreak of the highly-contagious viral infection in Calgary, Edmonton, and central Alberta.

There have been 22 cases of measles confirmed in the province so far this year, Alberta Health Services (AHS) says because the disease has a long-incubation period, more are expected to emerge.

AHS says it means changes to the recommended immunization for the duration of the outbreak:

* Infants between six and 12-months-old living in or travelling to areas where the out break has been declared, or travelling to anywhere where measles outbreaks are ongoing, are eligible for an early dose of the vaccine.

* Children four and older who are attending daycare, going to day-homes, or going to school within the affected areas, and have not yet received their second dose of the vaccine, should have it as soon as possible.



Health officials say the outbreak applies to Calgary, Edmonton, and central Alberta zones, but not any other parts of the province.

Infants receiving the vaccine under the new schedule should still receive a dose at 12 months, followed by the normal dose between four and six-years-old.

However, children who have already had their two doses don’t need an extra shot, AHS said.

“This additional early dose will provide short term added protection to infants, who are otherwise vulnerable during this time of increased risk of exposure to disease,” said Edmonton’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Marcia Johnson.

In 2013, there were 44 cases — a drastic increase considering there had been between one and six cases in the province between 2001 and 2012.

allison.salz@sunmedia.ca

@SUNAllisonSalz


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