Measles Alert for the NWT

News Type: 
Advisories

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – March 6, 2024. The Chief Public Health Officer is issuing an advisory to notify the public of measles circulating in Canada and globally, with the potential introduction into the NWT through travel, especially during spring break.

British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec have confirmed measles cases. Canada has recently seen measles cases that are not linked to travel. This means that there are signs of community transmission which is of immediate concern as more people are travelling out of NWT during March break.

Measles is one of the most transmissible and highly infectious diseases. It is spread easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can become infected when you breathe in air or touch a surface contaminated with the virus. The measles virus can remain in the air for up to 2 hours once an infected person leaves the area. Measles virus can be spread by a person one day before they experience symptoms until 4 days after the rash appears. This means that you can become infectious and start spreading the disease before you know you are sick.

Measles signs and symptoms appear on average 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Signs and symptoms of measles typically include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches, which starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body that lasts 4-7 days

There is no cure for measles. Most people recover in 2-3 weeks, but measles can have serious complications especially for infants, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. These complications include ear infections, lung infections, and brain inflammation which can lead to deafness, seizures, brain damage, or even death.

Measles is a vaccine preventable disease. The best way to protect against measles is to get a measles containing vaccine.

  • All children 12 months and over should have two doses of measles containing vaccine given at least 4 weeks apart.
  • It is recommended that all adults born on or after 1970 who are traveling outside the NWT have received two doses of the vaccine in their lifetime.
  • Individuals born before 1970 who are traveling outside of NWT should have received one dose of a measles-containing vaccine.
  • If you are not sure if you or your child are adequately immunized, or for travel with infants under 12 months of age, book an appointment with your local healthcare provider to discuss vaccination eligibility.

It is important to know your vaccine status by reviewing your immunization records.

If you have questions or concerns about measles symptoms contact a healthcare provider or 811. Stay home if you are sick, especially after travel to places experiencing community spread or outbreaks, and avoid visiting unvaccinated people.

For more information on measles please visit:


 

For more information contact:

Andrew Wind
Manager, Communications
Health and Social Services
Andrew_Wind@gov.nt.ca