Alberta Health Services has announced a case of lab-confirmed measles has been discovered in Calgary and is warning residents about possible exposure.

Dr, Jia Hu, the medical officer of health for Calgary Zone, says the case was reported to them on March 13 and the patient caught the disease while outside the province.

Officials say the patient visited a number of locations in Cochrane and Calgary while infectious:

March 5:

  • Exposure Location: Tim Hortons, 12 Westside Drive, Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 8:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
  • Exposure Location: Multi-business facility, 110 – 2 Ave W, Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Exposure Location: Cumbrian Arms Pub, 57 W Aasby Rd., Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (March 6)

March 6:

  • Exposure Location: Multi-business facility, 110 – 2 Ave. W, Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

March 8:

  • Exposure Location: Rexall Pharmacy, 305 1 St. W, Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 1:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

March 11:

  • Exposure Location: Multi-business facility, 110 – 2 Ave. W, Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Exposure Location: Yoshi Grill, 204 5 Ave., Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Exposure Location: Save-on-Foods, 65 Bow St., Cochrane
  • Exposure Time Period: 7:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

March 12:

  • Exposure Location: Cabela’s, 851 64 Ave. N.E., Calgary
  • Exposure Time Period: 12:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Exposure Location: Re:Grub Deerfoot City, 901 64 Ave. N.E. Unit 5113, Calgary
  • Exposure Time Period: 1:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
  • Exposure Location: Bella Concert Hall, Mount Royal University, 4824 Mt. Royal Gate S.W., Calgary
  • Exposure Time Period: 7:15 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

The agency says anyone who believes they were in those locations on March 12 during times noted and have no history of receiving any measles vaccine should attend the AHS Immunization Clinic in Brentwood Mall between 9:30 and 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

"If you get immunized within three days of exposure, you can get a vaccine to ward off an infection."

Those people who believe they were exposed on any other date are no longer eligible for the preventative vaccine but they are still encouraged to review their immunization history and call Health Link at 811 to book an appointment at their local health clinic.

Officials say those individuals who were in the above locations within the timeframes and were born after 1970, have not had measles and have not recieved two doses of the measles vaccine may be at risk of developing measles.

Dr. Hu says the AHS also wants to highlight that pregnant women and infants under one year of age are also at risk if they were in any of the above locations during the times listed.

"We are asking them to call Health Link at 811 for further assessment as there may be an opportunity for some post-exposure medications."

Symptoms of measles include:

  • fever of 38.3 C or higher and
  • cough, runny nose and/or red eyes and
  • a red, blotchy rash that appears three to seven days after fever starts, beginning behind the ears and on the face and spreading down the body and then to the arms and legs

Measles is extremely contagious and is easily spread through the air. There is no treatment for measles, but the disease can be prevented through immunization.

Dr. Hu says the AHS is very concerned because of the disease's extremely high infection rate.

"It is the most contagious disease that exists. That's why it's so important that people do get immunized because that is really the best protection against measles."

He says people need to be up to date on their immunizations if they travel around the world, especially to places where measles is prevalent.

Patients who have contracted measles tend to get better on their own with bed rest, but Dr. Hu says in about 1 in 20 cases, there is a chance that it will develop into a lung infection.

"In about one to two per 1,000 people, people will actually die from measles and have brain swelling and other kinds of neurological complications. Measles can be mild in most people but it can be severe in others, which is why it's so important to be immunized."

The measles vaccine is offered to all Albertans, free of charge. Children in Alberta typically receive their first dose of the measles vaccine at 12 months old and their second dose between four and six years old.

AHS will be directly following up with residents who are most at risk of contracting the illness.