Lloydminster families may want to make sure their measles immunizations are up-to-date. Recent outbreaks of airborne disease have arisen in B.C., in the United States, and a case in Edmonton.
Alberta Health Services issued an alert this week after an individual with a laboratory-confirmed measles case flew to Edmonton International Airport and spent 19 hours at a parade in the area. The passenger flew on 12 and 13 February in Vancouver, which had two cases of measles.
The individual flew on Air Canada Flight AC236 and stopped at the Walmart Supercentre and the Stars Inn Hotel in Leduc. AHS says that people who were in the localities on those dates, who were born after 1970 and have not yet had measles disease or received two doses of the measles vaccine, may be at risk. They are encouraged to watch for symptoms such as fever of 38.3 degrees Celsius or more, cough, runny nose and / or red eyes, and a red rash three to seven days after the onset of fever for three weeks.
Saskatchewan's medical director of health and Health Minister Saqib Shahab said the last time Saskatchewan saw an outbreak was in 2014, where there were a total of 16 cases.
"The reason we have not had more than 16 cases is that we continue to have a high vaccination rate of the population." Because measles is a serious and infectious disease, Dr. Shahab says he believes children should be up to date with their children. immunizations before they start school.
"It is very important to start immunization over time. For measles, this means getting your first dose of measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox at 12 months, the second dose at 18 months. Therefore, for parents who have children under the age of 2, make sure they are up-to-date with the measles vaccine. "Shahab adds that total measles is rare in vaccinated children. He says an MMR shot is 95 percent effective, and two doses are 99 percent effective.
The anti-vaccination movement is having less impact in Saskatchewan. Shahab says that in the province less than one percent of the parents refuse to immunize.
"Five to ten percent have questions about immunization, and for these parents we really encourage them to talk to public health, talk to doctors to clarify these issues because vaccines are very safe and very effective."
In a statement, the Saskatchewan government says people traveling out of North America with children aged 6 to 11 months should contact their local public health office to see if they need a measles vaccine. They say cases of measles are rare in Canada, but they usually result from international travel. People are eligible to receive MMR if they have not received injections in the past.
Immunization services are offered at Lloydminster at Prairie North Plaza and at any Shoppers Drug Mart.