The measles vaccine is not Mandatory in Manitoba so when a man (in his 30s) from the Philippines returned to Winnipeg from the Philippines with the virus, the public health department raised a warning about it.
The said man from Winnipeg contracted the measles while he was travelling in the Philippines. Unfortunately, he brought it home to Winnipeg with him, potentially affecting hundreds of people in the province. He has been reported to be recovering in the hospital in the meantime.
The public health department have stated that people who travelled on the same flights or were in the same airports are at a risk (although low) of contracting the virus. They have asked the public to be informed of the following times and dates of possible exposure:
- Philippines Airlines flight PR 116 from Manila to Vancouver on June 24;
- Vancouver International Airport customs area and baggage area from 5:15 p.m. (Pacific time) to 7 p.m. (Pacific time) on June 24;
- WestJet flight WJ 458 from Vancouver to Winnipeg on June 24;
- Winnipeg Richardson International Airport arrivals and baggage claim on June 25 from midnight until 2 a.m.;
- Assiniboine Clinic on Tuesday, June 25 between 2 and 6 p.m.; and
- Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg adult emergency department waiting room on Tuesday, June 25 from about 4:45 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
According to the press release, Pregnant women, people who have severely compromised immune systems and infants under 12 months of age are at higher risk of complications. Treatment to prevent measles may be recommended for these individuals if given within six days of exposure.
The provincial public health officials are asking the public to help curb the spread of the virus by ensuring their immunizations are up to date, washing their hands regularly with soap and water, avoid the sharing of utensils or drinking glasses, covering their mouth during coughs and sneezes, and staying at home when sick. Measles is a contagious disease that can spread in the air through sneezing and coughing. If you do need to go out in public areas, it might be worth covering your mouth with something like a kn95 mask, for example. This can reduce your chances of inhaling these airborne particles, limiting your chances of picking up the measles virus.
Watch for fever, coughing and red eyes in the early onset of infection, with a rash developing on the face that spreads to body. People or parents of infants who believe they may have been exposed should contact Health LinksInfo Sant at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257.
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