A second case of measles has been confirmed by Dr. Kami Kandola, the territorial chief public health officer, who was in Inuvik on March 6. With two locally confirmed cases, she said there is now a measles outbreak in Inuvik.
“We have now have a second case of measles that was presented with the typical signs of measles and was linked to exposure to the initial case,” she said.
Kandola said that she could not provide any specific details regarding the identity of the second individual, but she alerted that anyone who has been to Inuvik’s Children First Society from Feb. 25 to 28 should call public health.
“Typically, most people would be up to date with vaccines. It’s just a matter of calling public health and checking their immunization status,” she said. “Public health already knows about that particular daycare and is doing contact tracing.”
With this second case, she stressed to all Inuvik residents that now is the time to check your immunization statuses and make sure that they’re up to date.
“What we do know is that measles is preventable by vaccine. People who are up to date on their vaccines should be fine,” she said.
Measles symptoms appear around seven to 21 days after exposure, and signs include a fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, rash starting on the face and spreading to the chest.
“If you’ve been exposed and notice any of those symptoms, if you could just stay home and call in with your signs and symptoms so you’re not exposing other people,” Kandola said.
The infectious period has been identified as Feb. 25 to March 5, and the increased risk of another individual developing measles extends to approximately March 26.
Individuals who are most likely immune to measles were born before 1970, or were born after 1970, are aged 18 years or older and have received one documented dose of measles vaccine. Anyone who is currently between 12 months to 18-years-old with two documented doses of measles vaccine are also immune to the disease.
Those who are unaware if their child are properly immunized are asked to book an appointment at Inuvik’s public health unit by calling 867-777-7246.