Ottawa

Ottawa measles patient exposed to virus abroad

The patient at the centre of a confirmed case of measles in Ottawa contracted the highly contagious infectious disease while travelling abroad, the city's public health agency has confirmed.

Ottawa Public Health issues list of locations where others may have been infected

The measles patient visited the Ottawa West Medical Centre, on the second floor of the Real Canadian Superstore at 760 Eagleson Rd., on the evening of March 27. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

The patient at the centre of a confirmed case of measles in Ottawa contracted the highly contagious infectious disease while travelling abroad, the city's public health agency has confirmed.

Citing the man's privacy, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) wouldn't reveal his age or say where he'd been. On Wednesday evening, OPH did publish a list of places and times where and when the patient may have exposed others to the measles virus.

"Measles is really contagious and it's spread through the air, so it's very easy for just one case to infect other people," warned Dr. Robin Taylor, the city's associate medical officer of health, on Thursday.

"It's a good reminder for anybody who's travelling to a place where there may be measles outside North America to check with their doctor and make sure they have a shot to protect them."

That means a shot typically administered during infancy, and in some cases a booster shot, Taylor said.

"Call your parents, look up your old records, talk to your family doctor, and see if you have both those shots," said Taylor.

Ottawa doctor says measles patient was exposed to virus abroad. 0:57

Flu-like symptoms

Among the locations listed by OPH is the Ottawa West Medical Centre, on the second floor of the Real Canadian Superstore at 760 Eagleson Rd. in Kanata.

That's where Dr. Norm Bowles assessed the patient on the evening of March 27 at the medical centre's after-hours urgent care clinic.

"He presented with flu-like symptoms — fever, chills, sore throat, cough, and so on," Bowles said. "He did not have a rash at that point to lead me to suspect he had measles. His only risk factor was that he had travelled abroad a couple of weeks prior."

Bowles believes the man likely later underwent a blood test, confirming measles.

"You're infectious before you get the typical rash," Taylor said. "So it's now important for people who were exposed to check and make sure they're protected."

Dr. Robin Taylor, Ottawa's associate medical officer of health, is recommending everyone check their vaccination records. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Kanata office closed

In addition to the Superstore and the medical clinic on Eaglson Road, the patient also visited a commercial building at 40 Hines Rd., also in Kanata. The building is home to Trend Micro, a multinational cyber security and defence company.

Trend Micro employees told CBC they were told to work from home Thursday, and a note taped to the building's entrance said the company's office was closed until further notice.

The building wasn't locked, however, and on Thursday morning people were seen inside.

Dr. Norm Bowles treated the patient at his clinic, and initially suspected a more common viral illness such as influenza. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Taylor said OPH has not recommended closing the building entirely.

"Measles virus does linger in the air for up to two hours after the infected person has left that airspace, but after two hours there's no reason to avoid any public spaces or businesses," Taylor said.

According to the list of locations issued by OPH, people may have also come into contact with the patient at the emergency department and skin and tissue clinic of the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

The offices of Trend Micro at 40 Hines Rd. in Kanata were closed Thursday morning, and employees were told to work from home. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said people could have been exposed to the measles virus at the clinic on March 28. Since then, Ottawa Public Health changed the date to March 27. The story has been updated to reflect that change.
    Apr 04, 2019 4:56 PM ET

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