People who visited a northwest Calgary grocery store and the Balzac mall on Monday may have been exposed to the measles after a child contracted the disease this week, said health officials.
A child under five years old is recovering at home after contracting the measles, said Dr. Judy MacDonald, Calgary's medical officer of health, on Friday. The child had been vaccinated with the first dose but wasn't old enough yet to get the second shot, she added.
She said it's unclear how the child was first exposed but a relative may have had the disease.
People who were at the Huntington Superstore between 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. or the CrossIron Mills mall between 1:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday should monitor their health for symptoms of measles, said MacDonald.
Individuals who have not already had the measles, or have not been vaccinated against it are at risk for contracting the virus.
Symptoms include fever, a red blotchy rash that begins on the face and spreads to the body, and flu-like symptoms.
Measles is extremely contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, as well as through air currents.
MacDonald said potentially exposed people should continue to monitor for symptoms until May 21. Anyone who develops symptoms should call HealthLink Alberta immediately and avoid all contact with others.
Alberta Health recommends that children get the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination at one-year-old, with a second dose at between four and six years old. But some parents have opted against the shot in recent years due to controversy over the vaccine being linked to autism.
"We need to be proactive to prevent further spread and we strongly encourage parents to ensure their children are up to date with all immunizations," said Dr. Gerry Predy, Alberta's medical officer of health.
"Unfortunately, there are pockets of the province where Alberta reports low vaccination rates, and unvaccinated individuals in these areas are at increased risk for certain diseases, including measles."
From 2005 to 2009, there have been eight reported cases of measles in Alberta.
Measles can lead to an ear infection or pneumonia in children. Serious cases can lead to brain inflammation that can cause deafness or mental disability, or death.
In adults, measles can also cause serious illness, and increase the risk of miscarriage and premature delivery in pregnant women.