Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer confirmed on Friday afternoon that a man from Winnipeg has contracted the measles while travelling in the Philippines.
Reports have suggested that while the man is now recovering in hospital, there is a risk that members of the public that were in the same airport or on the same flight as the man, could now be affected.
The man travelled home from the Philippines, where he contracted the infection, on June 24, earlier this week. Reports are now suggesting that there are hundreds of people that could potentially be affected, in particular, those who shared a flight with the man, who is 30-years-old.
While the chances of contracting the virus is fairly low, measles is an infectious disease that can spread through the air through sneezing and coughing. An infected person can spread the virus from four days before the rash appears to four days after.
The province said in the 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.”
In the statement, the province also asked the public to help curb the spread of the infection by ensuring their vaccinations are up to date, their hands are washed regularly with soap and water, avoiding sharing utensils or drinking glasses, covering their mouth during coughs and sneezes, and staying at home when sick.
A list of specific locations in which exposure to the measles virus could've occurred was also released:
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.;
Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg adult emergency department waiting room on Tuesday, June 25 from about 4:45 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.
Public health officials have said they will continue to monitor the situation in Manitoba and provide updated information as necessary. If you think you, or someone you know may have been exposed to measles, you are encouraged to call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 for information.