Measles case in Yorkton sparks exposure alert at Regina airport, local health centre

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has confirmed a case of measles in Yorkton, Sask.

Infant travelled between India and Regina on several connecting flights

An infant who travelled through the Regina International Airport was infected with measles, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

The Saskatchewan Health Authority has confirmed a case of measles in Yorkton, Sask., and an exposure alert has been issued.

The case comes from an infant who was travelling overseas and flew into the Regina airport on June 9.

A Saskatchewan Health Authority spokesperson said the infant was too young to receive a vaccination for measles and contracted the disease overseas.

The infant is currently "doing well," according to the health authority.

Infant travelled via China

According to the health authority,  the person departed Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport the same day, heading toward Beijing's Capital International Airport.

Later in the day, they departed on an Air China Limited flight, CA 0991, from Beijing to Vancouver.

People in Canada affected by the exposure alert are:

  • People in Vancouver airport's main terminal who travelled through Canadian customs and the immigration area at approximately 10:50 a.m. on June 9.

  • People who boarded Air Canada flight 8572 to Regina in Vancouver the same day.

  • People at the Regina airport arrivals and baggage area between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on June 9.

  • People at the Yorkton Regional Health Centre between 5 p.m. June 9 and 3:40 a.m. on June 10.

Anyone on these flights or in the Yorkton Regional Health Centre who is pregnant, immunosuppressed or under the age of one may qualify for preventative treatment.

Dr. Mark Vooght said the Saskatchewan Health Authority conducted a number of tests between June 9 and June 13 and confirmed an infant brought measles to the Regina airport from abroad. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

An estimate of the number of people who were potentially exposed is still being worked on, according to the health authority.

Dr. Mark Vooght said the infant's family immediately went to the Yorkton Regional Health Centre for treatment, greatly reducing the risk for potential exposure.

He said the rest of the family was fully protected against measles.

Vooght, who is taking the lead on this matter for the health authority, said the first six days after potential exposure to measles are critical.

"Some people may benefit from preventative treatment if this is given within six days of exposure," Vooght said. "This timeframe ends this Saturday."

Symptoms develop within 3 weeks

Vooght said it should only be a "minimum number" of people who require the preventative treatments.

He said the health authority doesn't expect to see anyone fall ill with measles beyond the infant who was infected abroad.

Symptoms of measles are likely to develop after seven to 21 days and include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes or a rash that starts centrally, including on the face, spreads to the limbs and lasts at least three days.

Anyone who develops these symptoms and suspects they may have measles is directed to call ahead to their health-care provider and inform them they may have been exposed to measles.

People in the Yorkton area are asked to call 1-866-343-1460. People in the Regina area are asked to call 1-306-766-7790. People with general inquiries about measles are asked to contact the HealthLine at 811.

Vooght said anyone who is unsure of the status of their measles vaccination can contact their health office or local travel health centre for further information.  

'Get yourself vaccinated'

Vooght said given near-outbreaks or outbreaks of the disease, people need to get their vaccinations.

"People with young children, even under the age of 12 months, can consult with public health, and please do, to see if their child is eligible for an early shot of measles-containing vaccine," Vooght said.

He said in Saskatchewan about 90 per cent of children are vaccinated by Age 2. But he said that total needs to be boosted up to over 95 per cent to prevent outbreaks of measles.


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