01/20/2014 11:02 EST | Updated 03/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Measles Immunization Saskatchewan: More Suspected Cases In Regina Area, Officials Urge Shots

REGINA - Health officials in Saskatchewan are investigating two more suspected cases of measles and are urging people to be immunized.

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region and the Ministry of Health say the two people had contact with a third person, who was the first confirmed case of measles reported earlier this year.

Other people who may have been in direct contact with the suspect cases have been contacted by health officials.

"People who were exposed received a letter letting them know that they had been exposed," Dr. Denise Werker, Saskatchewan's deputy chief medical officer, said Monday.

Officials are also notifying members of the public who may have been exposed at various locations in the city, including a public pool, two community centres and two grocery stores.

Measles is a highly infectious and potentially serious disease that is easily transmitted through the air. Symptoms include high fever, cough and runny nose, followed by a rash. The rash often starts on the face before spreading to the rest of the body.

Werker said vaccination efforts will concentrate on children under the age of five.

"The complications of measles can be a whole lot more serious in children who are under five. Those are the children who are more likely to get very severe pneumonias and complications of that."

The Public Health Agency of Canada website says there have been no indigenous cases of measles reported in Canada since 1997. However, imported cases continue to occur.

Last week, health officials issued an advisory about an infant with measles who travelled by air to Saskatchewan from the Phillipines in early January. The first case reported earlier this year also involved someone who travelled to Saskatchewan from the Phillipines, but Werker says that person was not infectious during travel.

An outbreak of measles in southern Alberta led to about 40 confirmed cases last fall.


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