Measles exposure confirmed at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 8, 2017

Dartmouth, N.S. – Exposure to measles has been confirmed at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside. This was following investigation of a single confirmed measles case, in which the person had been present at the facility. 

Public Health offered vaccination to inmates and staff at the facility Sunday.

Dr. Rob Strang, chief medical officer of health in Nova Scotia, said that given how highly contagious measles is and the type of facility impacted, it was important to offer vaccination to help prevent further spread.

“Measles virus can live in a room for up to two hours; in any situation where we have individuals sharing common spaces on a regular basis, such as a correctional facility, school or hospital, it’s important to act right away and do what we can to prevent further spread.”

Dr. Strang noted that ensuring individuals are up to date with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine following an exposure can help prevent transmission.

While at the correctional facility Sunday, Public Health staff screened inmates and staff to determine their immunization status and provided vaccination to those who needed it. Public Health staff will be returning to complete clinics over the next few days. 

The current outbreak of measles in Nova Scotia now has 23 confirmed cases; ten other cases were confirmed since the last public news release on April 13.

Risk to the general public remains low at this time and most people are protected from measles infection by being vaccinated. Public Health is once again asking the public to be aware of measles symptoms and what to do if they have them. 

Symptoms of measles include:

  • fever, cough, runny nose;
  • red eyes;
  • a red blotchy rash on the face, which spreads down the body;
  • sleepiness;
  • irritability (feeling cranky or in a bad mood);
  • small white spots may also show up inside the mouth and throat.

If you have symptoms of measles, you should:

  • Call Public Health at 1-844-856-3677.  
  • Call 811 for advice from a registered nurse. 
  • If you need to see a healthcare provider for assessment, such as your family doctor, please call ahead. Healthcare providers need to take special precautions to protect other patients from being exposed.  

Measles is a viral illness and most people fully recover within two to three weeks. However, measles can have serious complications, which are more likely in infants, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

Public Health has been directly notifying others, such as family members and friends, who are known to have had close contact with a case.

So far in 2017 in Nova Scotia:

  • There have been two measles outbreaks.
  • The first was in January/February, with seven cases.
  • The second, and current outbreak, started in March and has 23 cases.
  • The total of measles cases in Nova Scotia is 30.

Nova Scotia residents born after 1970 are eligible to receive two doses of measles-containing vaccine at no cost through the publicly funded immunization program. Individuals who have not had two doses of measles-containing vaccine should arrange immunization through their primary care provider as per the Nova Scotia Immunization Schedule. 

 

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Dr. Strang will have media availability after 2:30 p.m. today. Interviews can be arranged by calling 902-223-1465.
NSHA Media Contact:
Kristen Lipscombe
Senior Advisor, Media Relations
Provincial Media Line: 1-844-483-3344
kristen.lipscombe@healthns.ca