Measles outbreak has doctors on alert

A couple of cases of measles in some parts of Canada have prompted healthcare officials, including those in Montreal, to be on alert.

Cases have been confirmed in places as far away as B.C. and as close as Ottawa. None have been reported here in Quebec.

"Measles is always a disease to worry about," said Dr. Brian Ward, an MUHC infectious disease specialist and a McGill University professor of microbiology and infectious diseases.

Ward said children should have received at least two doses of measles vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunization program.

"Unfortunately some people choose not to be vaccinated or they miss the vaccine and it just gets forgotten," Ward told CJAD 800 News.

Ward said it's not too late for those born after 1970 who haven't been vaccinated, adding the risk of becoming infected even with just a very passing exposure is very high and that isolated clusters of the disease can spread.

"It's an opportunity to remind people that a lot of these childhood diseases haven't gone away," Ward said.

"One person incubating the disease, before they become clinically ill even, walking through an airport or bus station can expose every single person in that airport or bus station."

Officials say they believe the disease entered the country by people who visited countries with rates of infection such as the Philippines and the Netherlands.

Five cases of measles have been reported and confirmed in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. P.E.I. has six cases, Calgary had four, Alberta had 42 dating back to last fall, Manitoba has one case and Ottawa has two.

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