2 measles cases confirmed in central P.E.I.

Two cases of measles have been confirmed in central P.E.I.
A 2011 measles outbreak in Quebec was the largest in North and South America since 2002. (U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention)

Two cases of measles have been confirmed in central P.E.I.

The Department of Health says two school-aged siblings have been diagnosed with the disease.

One of the siblings showed symptoms of measles earlier this month after returning from Europe, where outbreaks are occurring.

One sibling did not require hospitalization and has recovered. The second was sent to hospital and is expected to be released Saturday.

Dr. Heather Morrison is P.E.I.'s chief health officer.

She said vaccination records are now being checked at the schools both students attended:

  • East Wiltshire Junior High School in Cornwall
  • Bluefield Senior High School in Hampshire

"It's quite a long incubation period, so the exposure would have occurred for one of them a couple of weeks ago," Morrison said. "Most of those students have had two doses of vaccine, but that's why we're starting a review of everyone's records — to see if they have had two doses."

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that children should get two vaccine shots against measles: one at 12 months as part of the measles, mumps and rubella shot, and a second dose at either 18 months or between ages four and six.

The agency describes measles as a "highly infectious disease" spread through direct contact with an infected person, or through inhaling secretions from an infected person’s mouth or nose. It usually causes fever, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability and red eyes. It is fatal in about three cases per 1,000.

The agency says measles remains a "serious and common" disease in developing countries and is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children worldwide. Vaccines have largely eradicated it in the Americas. The last endemic measles case on record in the region was in 2002. Quebec experienced an epidemic of measles in 2011.