Measles case reported in Waterloo Region

A University of Waterloo student is now the first confirmed case of measles in Waterloo Region since 2009.

Waterloo Region Public Health says 'travel related importation of measles' on the rise

The first confirmed case of measles in Waterloo region since 2009 has been detected in a University of Waterloo student.

Region of Waterloo Public Health (RWPH) confirmed that the student wasn't immunized and became infected with measles while travelling in Europe.

"At this point it's one isolated case here in the region, but we do know there is activity happening abroad, both in Europe, the Netherlands, we also know there is activity happening in the Philippines," said Kristy Wright, the manager of infectious disease for RWPH.

"Most cases in Canada have resulted from a travel or an importation of measles, so it's a good opportunity to remind people to make sure their immunization is up to date prior to travelling." 

The student, who doesn't reside in Waterloo Region but is an Ontario resident, takes classes at University of Waterloo. The department of public health said the student attended a psychology class (section 292) at the university on February 25, and took a Grand River Transit bus from King Street to University Avenue on the same day, between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.

Wright said the measles case was confirmed when lab results returned on Monday.

People who were exposed to the student would have developed symptoms by March 18 if they had contracted the virus, public health said. 

"At this point we are encouraged that we have not had any secondary cases reported to us," said Wright.

Measles on the rise

The last reported case of measles in Waterloo Region was back in 2009 when six people were diagnosed with the condition. In that case, a child who wasn't immunized had travelled outside of Canada.

According to RWPH, there's been an increase in Canada in "travel-related importation of measles" as people travel to countries with lower immunization rates.

Measles symptoms start between four to 21 days after contact with an infected person. According to RwPH, symptoms include runny nose, cough, fever, white spots in the mouth and red, watery eyes that are light-sensitive. 

In two to four days, a red rash starts on the face and spreads across the body, accompanied by a high fever.