Toronto Public Health investigating two confirmed measles cases with possible exposure at Pearson Airport

Toronto Public Health investigating two confirmed measles cases with possible exposure at Pearson Airport

Toronto Public Health says it is investigating two confirmed travel-related cases of measles in adults with possible exposure in the GTA earlier this month.

In both cases, an infected person was travelling between Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and London Heathrow Airport on an Air Canada flight, the health agency said in a news release.

It says it is following up people known to have come into contact with the highly contagious virus and is warning that the public may have been exposed on the following dates:

May 5:

  • Remley’s Restaurant, at 4830 Sheppard Ave. E. between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Air Canada flight AC849, which departed London Heathrow Airport at 2:10 p.m. and arrived at Pearson at 5 p.m.

While the risk of acquiring the measles is low, anyone who many have been exposed should check their vaccination records and watch for symptoms, Toronto Public Health said in a news release.

Those who are most at risk of infection are people who do not have the measles vaccine, infants under 1 year of age, pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system.

Toronto Public Health is asking any of these people who may have been exposed to call the health agency at 416-338-7600 to discuss followup recommendations.

Read more:

Ontario’s vaccination coverage is not what you think. Here are the rates from Toronto to Ottawa that have experts worried

Ontario failed to build a reliable tool to track children’s vaccinations, and now relies on parents to use the honour system

Canada’s chief health officer takes aim at misinformation in measles outbreak

Symptoms of the measles include coldlike symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose; a high fever, sore eyes or light-sensitivity and a red rash which can last four to seven days.

If you may have been exposed and begin experiencing symptoms, speak with your doctor as soon as possible and do not attend work or school, the health agency advises.

Toronto Public Health is reminding people that measles is circulating in many countries and that they should check they are protected before travelling.

“There has been an increase in global measles cases and this affects what we are seeing locally. We are therefore reminding people to check their measles vaccination history, especially before any international travel,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto.

“We encourage people to speak with their health care provider about measles before travelling to affected areas and if you have any concerns about a possible recent exposure to measles.”

The cases are the second and third confirmed travel-related incidents of measles reported by Toronto Public Health so far this year.

Several cities in North America are experiencing an outbreak of the disease spread in part by an antivaccination movement that argues the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism, a claim that has no scientific backing.

According to data obtained by the Star, vaccination rates among Ontario schoolchildren are far below the 95-per-cent gold standard required to achieve herd immunity.

As of March, only 76 per cent of Toronto students who were 7 years old during the 2017-2018 school year were immunized for measles.

Emma Sandri is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @emmarosesandri

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