Toronto

Travel-related measles case confirmed in Toronto, others may have been exposed

Toronto Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of measles and warning that some people may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.

Case involves unvaccinated infant who recently returned to Canada following family trip abroad

This photo shows a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Toronto Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of measles in Scarborough. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

Toronto Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of measles and warning that some people may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus.

Associate medical officer of health Dr. Vinita Dubey says the case involves an unvaccinated infant who recently returned to Canada with its family from a trip abroad.

The parents sought medical care for the baby, who's under a year old, at two doctor's offices and a Toronto hospital's emergency department, potentially exposing staff and patients in those locations to the disease.

Public Health warns people may have been exposed if they were in the following areas: 

  • Scarborough Health Network, Birchmount Site, Emergency Department on February 28 between 5:12 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
  • Huntingdale Medical Centre at 3061 Pharmacy Ave between 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on February 26 and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on February 28. ​

Watch for symptoms, Toronto Public Health warns 

In a communique, Toronto Public Health warned physicians to be alert for patients presenting with key symptoms of measles, including high fever, cough, red eyes and a rash.

Dubey says anyone who may have been exposed should watch for signs and symptoms of measles. If symptoms develop, the individual should call before going to a health clinic to prevent possible exposure to others.

Symptoms of the infection can appear seven to 21 days after exposure. 

Dubey said the infection was likely picked up at the family's trip destination, or en route, but said the exposed infant wasn't contagious during the trip. 

Risk to the public low

Dubey says risk to the public is low because the child wasn't in any public settings when it was infectious. 

"The biggest risk is for individuals who traveling right now," she told CBC Toronto. "Our main message is when you travel, you should make sure your immunizations are up to date." 

Because the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is only provided when a baby turns one year old, Dubey says families travelling with an infant between six and 12 months old should consider getting the vaccination early. 

On average, Dubey says there are about five cases of measles per year in Toronto — the last confirmed case was Dec. 17, 2018.

15 confirmed cases in Vancouver region 

Meanwhile, British Columbia is in the middle of a measles outbreak in Vancouver, and doctors are urging people to get two doses of the MMR vaccine. 

Read the stories below for more information on B.C.'s outbreak: 

With files from CBC News