Measles… What is it?

It is a virus that is transmitted through the air or by direct contact with an infected person. Measles can be more severe in adults and infants and can lead to complications. To date, vaccination remains the best protection against measles.

What should I do if I think I have measles?

If you believe you have been exposed to measles or if you are showing symptoms of the disease, including fever, cough, runny nose, small white spots inside the mouth, red eyes or red spots, stay at home and self-isolate. It is very important that you contact your health care provider or call 811 before presenting to a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency room so that necessary measures can be put in place to prevent the spread to others.

Am I immune to the virus?

Measles can be prevented through vaccination. Adults born before 1970 are generally presumed to have developed natural immunity to measles. Most people who received two doses of the vaccine are protected against a measles infection. The vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV) is administered free of charge to babies aged 12 and 18 months.

The efficacy of a single dose of measles vaccine given at 12 or 15 months of age is estimated to be 85 to 95 percent. With a second dose, efficacy in children approaches 100 percent. However, measles outbreaks have occurred in populations with high immunization coverage rates. Due to the high infectivity of measles, at least 95 percent of the population needs to be immunized to develop community immunity.

Can I get the vaccine?

During this regional measles outbreak, the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is provided in priority to people of the region who were potentially exposed to infected individuals as well as to vulnerable individuals to limit the spread of the disease in the Saint John area (New Brunswick).

You can find additional information on measles, immunization and the number of confirmed cases here. You can also check at that same link whether you may have been in contact with a measles case, which means if you were potentially at the same place, date and time as an infected individual.