Health officials have received confirmation of measles in an unimmunized infant who travelled by air to Saskatchewan in early January.
The infant's family flew from the Philippines to Vancouver on January 2, 2014, and then to Calgary and Regina on January 7. Passengers who were on the same flights as the family may have been exposed to measles.
Those who develop symptoms are encouraged to call their health provider to seek immediate medical advice, particularly if they have not been immunized.
"Measles cases are quite uncommon in Saskatchewan, but this situation underscores the importance of vaccinations," said Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Denise Werker. "The risk of exposure to highly contagious diseases can be particularly high during busy travel seasons, for people travelling within Canada as well as to and from countries experiencing measles outbreaks."
Werker said the infant is receiving treatment and recovering.
The Ministry of Health is working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and health officials in B.C. and Alberta to monitor the situation and take necessary action.
Saskatchewan has confirmed one other case of measles since the new year involving a person who had travelled from the Philippines; that case was not infectious during travel. Investigation of exposures that may have occurred within Saskatchewan have been completed by regional health authorities in accordance with disease prevention and control protocols.
Measles is a highly infectious and potentially serious disease that is easily transmitted through the air. Symptoms include high fever, cough and runny nose, followed by a rash. The rash often starts on the face before spreading to the rest of the body.
All travellers could unknowingly be exposed to people with measles. Measles occurs more frequently in countries outside of the Americas. For example, there are large outbreaks occurring in the Netherlands and the Philippines. Parents with infants six to 12 months of age should consider having these infants vaccinated prior to travel and seeking travel advice about other diseases that may pose a risk to the health of family members.