Toronto Public Health warns of potential measles exposure at new location linked to 2nd case

A colourized electron transmission micrograph of measles virus particles is pictured here. (CBC, UK Health Security Agency - image credit)
A colourized electron transmission micrograph of measles virus particles is pictured here. (CBC, UK Health Security Agency - image credit)

Toronto Public Health is warning that residents could have been exposed to measles at a new location as a result of a second lab-confirmed case previously identified in Scarborough.

In a news release on Wednesday, the public health unit said people who attended a mom and babies program at St. James Town Public Library, or at the Wellesley Community Centre, from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 15, could have been exposed to the virus.

Toronto Public Health confirmed the second case in an infant who was travelling and is now recovering at home.

In an earlier news release, the public health unit had said people may have been exposed to measles at a magic show at Agincourt Public Library on March 11 between 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Toronto Public Health urges anyone who believes they were exposed to measles at one of these locations to do the following:

  • Anyone with a weakened immune system, including infants and pregnant women, should call Toronto Public Health right away. "High risk individuals such as young children, pregnant women and immune compromised individuals can receive a medication called immune globulin within six days of an exposure. The immunoglobulin can prevent or reduce the severity of an infection," the public health unit said in the release.

  • Check vaccination records to ensure protection from measles.

  • Monitor for symptoms until April 5. Anyone exposed to measles can develop symptoms up to 21 days after exposure.

Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, small spots with white centres inside the mouth, sore eyes, sensitivity to light and a red blotchy rash.

Public urged to 'remain watchful' for symptoms

"Remain watchful for symptoms even if vaccinated against measles. Call ahead to clinics for precautionary measures and testing. Follow medical advice promptly for proper care and containment," Toronto Public Health says in the release.

If anyone is unsure if they've been vaccinated against measles they should contact their health-care provider by phone or email.

If someone has measles symptoms, they should not go to work or school. They should also call ahead before going to see a health-care provider so that the clinic can take precautions against spreading the virus.

People born in 1970 or later should have had two doses of the measles vaccine. Children are usually vaccinated at 12 months and again between four to six years of age.

The public health unit says people born before 1970 are assumed to have immunity through exposure to the measles virus itself. But anyone in this age group who isn't sure if they had measles should get one dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to ensure they are protected.

Anyone born in 1970 or later requires two doses of a measles vaccine or proof of immunity through a blood test.

Measles vaccination is free in Ontario.