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Health unit cautions against measles as cases pop up in Ontario

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is warning residents to be cautious as the March break travel season nears. 
A woman scratches the upper arm with one hand due to the numerous red pruritus. Measles is a disease that can spread easily.

THUNDER BAY — Canada is currently tracking four measles cases, two of which are in southern Ontario. 

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is warning residents to be cautious as the March break travel season nears. 

Karen Battigelli, manager of infectious diseases, said measles is preventable through vaccinations.

"With the upcoming travel season, March break coming, there will likely be more people that are travelling to areas where potentially measles does exist -- as well as other potential infectious diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.

"The province just wants to make sure, and the country wants to make sure that we keep these numbers under control, especially since it is highly preventable."

Measles symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. Then, a full-body rash typically appears within three to five days. 

She said the health unit's preventable disease team reviews local records.

"Most importantly, we have a very skilled vaccine-preventable disease team who review records continuously and provide parents and guardians with recommendations if there are vaccines that are needed.

"We provide many clinics in order for those parents and guardians to bring their children in to have their vaccines updated."

Battigelli said there hasn't been any measle cases in Thunder Bay in at least 25 years. 

"It's very important just to keep yourself safe. These diseases can spread through households, they can spread through classrooms, they can spread through work sites and cause many levels of severity," she said.

Katie Nicholls

About the Author: Katie Nicholls

Originally from central Ontario, Katie has moved here to further her career in the media industry.
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