Health

NWT posts must-check measles hotspots after confirmed case


The territorial government has posted a list of times and locations at which members of the public may have been exposed to measles following the confirmation of a case in Inuvik this month.

Similar lists published in the past two days by multiple Canadian health authorities identify two large international airports, in Vancouver and Edmonton, where many thousands of people could potentially have been exposed.

Health officials in British Columbia on Sunday confirmed two cases of measles linked to Vancouver Airport.

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Alberta Health Services said the passenger at the heart of the incident was a resident of the Northwest Territories. No further information about the person or their condition is available.

The NWT government’s list identified Inuvik’s airport and hospital – and two Canadian North flights – as locations within the territory where people could have come into contact with the individual, who was later found to have the highly infectious disease.

The territory’s chief public health officer said any non-immune individuals whose movements match any of the times and locations “should immediately contact their community health centre or health care practitioner.”

Sunday’s NWT advisory identifies the following times and locations of concern:

February 13
6am-9:45am – Edmonton International Airport
10:30am-1:15pm – Canadian North flight 444 from Edmonton to Inuvik
1:15pm-3:30pm – Inuvik Airport
1:55pm-3:15pm – Canadian North flight 445 from Inuvik to Edmonton

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February 16
11am-3pm – Inuvik hospital’s emergency and x-ray departments

February 17
12pm-3pm – Inuvik hospital’s emergency department

February 18
10:30am-2pm – Inuvik hospital’s emergency department

February 19
12:30pm-2:30pm – Inuvik hospital’s laboratory

At-risk residents include those born after 1970 who have not received two doses of a measles-containing vaccine.

People born before 1970 are generally considered to have acquired natural immunity.

“Exposed individuals who are not immune may prevent illness if they receive measles-containing vaccine within three days of exposure,” read the NWT’s health advisory.

“Measles can be dangerous for infants, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems,” the advisory continued. “For these higher-risk individuals, a different form of immunization reduces the risk if given within six days of exposure. Higher-risk individuals exposed to measles should immediately contact their community health centre or healthcare practitioner.”

The territory said susceptible individuals who are exposed should monitor for the following symptoms, which appear seven to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Rash starting on the face and spreading to the chest

“If you develop symptoms, remain at home and call your healthcare provider immediately. Advance calling ensures health facilities can take precautions to prevent transmission of measles to others,” read the advisory.

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