A Winnipeg-area man in his 30s has Manitoba's eighth lab-confirmed case of measles in recent months, prompting health officials to warn people who went to a local strip bar last weekend that they may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease.
The provincial government issued a precautionary warning about the latest case late Friday afternoon, urging anyone who may have come into contact with the man to call their doctor.
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Anyone who went to Teasers Burlesque Palace on Archibald Street on April 25 between 10 p.m. and midnight may have been exposed to measles, according to public health officials.
Health officials would not say if the patient was an employee or patron of the bar, citing privacy concerns.
Anyone who went to Teasers at that time and think they might have measles symptoms are asked to phone their health-care provider or Health Links/Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257.
Where appropriate, people may be offered immunization and asked to stay at home to minimize the spread of the virus, said health officials.
The first symptoms of measles — fever, runny nose, drowsiness, and small white spots in the mouth or throat — can appear between seven and 21 days after someone's been exposed.
A red blotchy rash appears on the face and body several days following the onset of the initial symptoms, according to health officials.
Measles is generally spread through air droplets from an infected patient coughing or sneezing, and the virus can be spread four days before or after the rash appears.
Health officials in Alberta declared a measles outbreak in Calgary, Edmonton and the central part of the province earlier this week, with at least 22 cases reported there to date.
Meanwhile, British Columbia's Fraser Valley recently experienced a large-scale measles outbreak, with more than 400 cases reported.
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"Because there's measles activity around the world, and it seems like this year there has been a little bit more measles activity — for example, in the Philippines and in parts of Europe — chances are it was just a matter of time," Dr. Michael Routledge, Manitoba's chief public health officer, told reporters late Friday.
Immunization rates down among Winnipeg kids
Measles can lead to complications including ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia and encephalitis, and it can be more severe or even life-threatening in infants and young children.
But health records show immunization rates for young children in Winnipeg are declining, with a drop of nearly 10 per cent reported among children aged seven and under over the past decade.
"It is a significant drop. It's really a reminder for parents of these preschoolers that remember to bring your children in to get their immunization," said Dr. Carol Kurbis of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
"It's always a wake-up call to remember that we really need to have our children up to date to prevent these outbreaks."
Kurbis said the data shows that while 90 per cent of children have received one vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, some don't have the booster shot that is needed for full protection.