Public health officials confirm travel-related case of measles in Nova Scotia

Public health officials say a few hundred people may have been exposed to measles from one person on a recent flight to Halifax, at a Queens County church and in the emergency department of the South Shore Regional Hospital.

"We were notified last week that we had a laboratory-confirmed case of measles of someone who was travelling internationally," said Dr. Ryan Sommers, a regional medical officer of health with the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

People who travelled on WestJet flight WS254, which departed Toronto on March 10 at 9:35 p.m. and arrived in Halifax at 12:32 a.m. on March 11, may have been exposed.

As well, people who attended these places as the infected person may be exposed:

- The arrivals area at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on March 11 from 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.

- St. Jerome's Catholic Church, West Caledonia, on March 11 from 1:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.

- The emergency department at South Shore Regional Hospital from 2:30 p.m. on March 12 to 9 p.m. on March 15.

Attempts made to contact hundreds

Sommers said exposure happens when anyone shares the same air space as someone who has measles.

"It's hard to actually physically or even manually contact all these people. So we've had to use different communications routes to identify these people. But it's hard to really say [how many] — definitely we're looking at a couple of hundred exposures."

Anyone who was exposed at these three places may develop symptoms between now and April 5, officials said.

Measles symptoms

Measles is a viral illness that can cause fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, as well as red blotches on their face that spread down the body. People with the illness can also develop small white spots inside their mouths and throats.

 Anyone with symptoms is asked to their call their public health office or 811.

Public health officials says this case is not linked to an outbreak that affected seven people in the province last month.

"The other cases we weren't exactly sure if it was associated with international travel, it's something that's still being investigated," Sommers said.

In Nova Scotia, the last travel-related measles case was reported in 2008.