Saskatchewan health officials reported Friday that two children in the Regina area have the measles.

One is nine months old and the other is three years old. Officials said the infant is recovering but the older child continues to feel poorly. Both of them are from the same household, although they are not siblings.

Measles is highly contagious, spread by airborne droplets released when an infected person sneezes or coughs, or through direct contact with fluids from the infected person's nose or mouth.

"We have informed parents and caregivers of known contacts in the Regina area, however because measles can be transmitted several days before the appearance of symptoms it's important for people to be aware that the disease is in the community," Dr. Maurice Hennink, the deputy medical health officer for the Regina-Qu'Appelle Heath Region, said Friday.

Health officials were also advising people who were at the emergency room of the Pasqua hospital in early April to be on guard if they notice any symptoms.

Here are the dates and times that officials are concerned about:

  • April 3, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • April 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • April 5, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Early symptoms of the measles are similar to a bad cold, plus swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a body rash. There is no cure or treatment, but patients generally recover following a period of rest.

Complications can lead to deafness or blindness.

Measles is rare in Canada — only seven cases were reported in 2004 — because of childhood immunization against the disease.