Public health investigating after South Shore student falls ill with measles

Public health officials are trying to determine whether a case of measles on Nova Scotia's South Shore is related to any of the other 14 confirmed cases included in the current outbreak, which began last month.

In all, there have been 22 confirmed cases of measles since the start of this year in the province, including an outbreak in January and February when seven people became sick.

The latest case involves a student at Hebbville Academy, a Primary to Grade 9 school in Hebbville, just outside of Bridgewater.

Dr. Ryan Sommers, medical officer of health, said it's hoped a vaccination clinic for students and staff at the school will help reduce the spread of the viral illness, though it's possible more cases will develop.

"This clinic will ideally help us prevent additional cases of measles and ensure that those whose vaccinations weren't up to date are covered," Sommers said Thursday in a news release.

Most people with measles fully recover within two to three weeks. However, the illness can have serious complications, which are more likely to occur in infants, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of measles

- 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. 

Public Health has been directly notifying friends, family and others who have had close contact with someone who has measles.

Nova Scotia residents born after 1970 can receive two doses of the vaccine at no cost.

What to do if you have symptoms

Health officials suggest calling Public Health at 1-844-856-3677 or calling 811 for advice from a registered nurse. They recommend calling ahead if you plan to visit your family doctor as precautions are needed to protect others from being exposed.