In the course of several weeks of reporting measles in the several zones across the province, Alberta Health Services (AHS) declared an outbreak of the contagious viral disease in three zones today.

A measles outbreak has been declared in Calgary, Central and Edmonton Zones as the areas have reported nine, seven and six cases in 2014, respectively.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

In Calgary Zone, the most recent case was reported Monday. In Central Zone, it was Apr. 24 and in Edmonton Zone, last Friday was the last confirmed case reported.

The measles outbreak declaration does not apply to the North or South Zones. Health authorities have revised immunization recommendation in the three outbreak zones to include infants six months of age to less than 12 months of age who are living in or travelling to the Calgary, Central or Edmonton Zones of AHS, or travelling to any out-of-province destinations in which measles outbreaks are ongoing, are eligible for an early additional dose of measles vaccine.

Infants who receive this additional early dose of vaccine will still be required to receive the two routinely recommended doses of measles vaccine, administered at 12 months of age and between four and six years of age.

This additional early dose will provide short-term added protection to infants six months to less than 12 months of age, who are otherwise vulnerable during this time of increased risk of exposure to disease.

In addition, Children age four and older, who are attending daycares/dayhomes and schools within the Calgary, Central or Edmonton Zones of AHS and have not yet received their second dose of measles vaccine, are advised to receive it as soon as possible.

Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Othersymptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.

The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis.