Second case of measles confirmed in Toronto and what you need to know

Toronto has confirmed its second lab-confirmed case of measles this year. The case is an infant who recently returned from travel, and the child is currently recovering at home.

Toronto Public Health is warning that the public may have been exposed to measles on March 11 while attending a magic show at the Agincourt Public Library (155 Bonis Ave.) between 1 and 5:30 p.m.

For anyone who believes they may have been exposed to measles at Agincourt Library, TPH recommends that you check your vaccination records to ensure you are protected from measles. Anyone born before 1970 is considered immune as measles was widely circulating at that time.

Those who are unsure if they have had a previous measles infection are encouraged to get one dose of the MMR vaccine. Anyone born in 1970 or later requires two doses of a measles vaccine or proof of immunity through a blood test. Monitor for symptoms until April 1.

Measles symptoms can include a high fever, cold-like symptoms, cough, runny nose, small spots with white centres that appear inside the mouth, sore eyes, sensitivity to light, and a red blotchy rash lasting four to seven days.

Research shows that approximately 30% of people who have measles develop one or more complications, such as diarrhea, otitis media, and pneumonia.

Prevention

Measles is highly contagious and can spread easily to others, so getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others. People are usually vaccinated at 12 months and between four to six years of age. Anyone who has not had two doses of a measles vaccine such as the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, or has not had measles in the past is at risk of infection.

If you have kids, make sure you wash toys and other articles in a strong detergent to help prevent spread. Anything that is not washable should be wiped with alcohol swabs. Hand washing and covering your mouth and nose while sneezing and coughing can prevent the spread of measles.

TPH also recommends that people remain watchful for symptoms even if they are vaccinated. If symptoms arise, don’t attend work or school, and seek medical care. Call ahead to clinics for precautionary measures and testing. Follow medical advice promptly for proper care and containment.

According to Public Health Ontario, measles has been rare in the province, owing to its successful elimination in Canada and high immunization coverage. As a result, cases are predominantly associated with travel.

The first incident in Toronto was identified on Feb. 16—that case also involved a child and was linked to travel. Last year, Toronto had four laboratory-confirmed cases of the infection.

According to the 2021 childhood National Immunization Coverage Survey, 91.6% of two-year-olds had received at least one dose of a vaccine against measles, and just over 79% of children aged seven had received two doses.

Canada has set a coverage goal of 95% for all recommended childhood vaccines by 2025.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO