Person infected with measles came to N.W.T. on international flight, says Health Department

People on a flight that passed through Yellowknife and Norman Wells on its way to Inuvik on Feb. 13 are asked to monitor their symptoms, after a confirmed case of measles in the Northwest Territories.

Flight travelled through Yellowknife and Norman Wells on way to Inuvik on Feb. 13, department says

A file photo of a vaccine. There's been a confirmed case of measles in the Inuvik area of N.W.T. The territory's Health Department says MMR or MMRV vaccines are the best way to protect against measles. (Associated Press)

A case of measles has been confirmed in the Northwest Territories, according to the territory's Health Department. 

The infected individual travelled to Inuvik, N.W.T., from an international destination by plane, the department said in an updated news release Saturday.

The flight travelled through Yellowknife and Norman Wells on Feb. 13, and the department says people who travelled by plane on those routes should monitor their symptoms.

The department and all health authorities are contacting any known individuals who were in contact with the infectious person and are "at risk."

Preventative treatment can reduce the risk of developing measles, says the Health Department. Public health staff are also looking into whether anyone at risk may be eligible to receive this treatment.

The department says if anyone shows symptoms, they should stay at home and call the local health care provider.

Fever, sore throat, skin rash

Measles is spread through the air through coughs or sneezes, or by touching a surface contaminated with the virus. It can also be spread through contact with an infected person, like sharing food, drinks, toys and cigarettes.

Symptoms can appear around seven to 21 days after being exposed to the virus, says the department. 

They include: 

  • Fever.
  • Dry cough.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sore throat.
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis).
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centres inside the mouth (Koplik's spots).
  • Skin rash of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another.

The MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against measles, and all children 12 months and over and adults born on or after 1970 should receive it, says the department. Children between 12 months and 12 years can get the MMRV vaccine instead.

Measles can lead to serious complications in some children, including pneumonia, encephalitis or death. 

Inuvik area residents can call 867-678-5579 to confirm if their measles immunizations are up to date, says the department.