Canada measles outbreak spreads

Ottawa – A measles outbreak linked to a flare-up of the virus in the United States has spiked in neighbouring Canada’s Quebec province to 119 cases, health officials said Wednesday.And the number of cases is expected to rise, they told a press conference.

They all stem from a single case in the Lanaudiere region northeast of Montreal in early February directly linked to an outbreak clustered around the Disneyland amusement park in California.

Infection disease specialist Johanne Desilets said the virus spread further among children and adults who have not been vaccinated and are members of large families.

“You have to realise that measles are highly contagious. If one person has measles in a family of 10, everybody will be exposed and will probably get it,” she said.

“And we have over 20 families affected, with families of seven to 10 children (each).”

Officials said a local school has become the epicenter of the larger local outbreak after an infected student showed up for class and unwittingly spread the virus.

Starting Thursday, health officials will offer vaccinations at the school, while those infected remain in self-isolation at home.

Officials said in a statement that others who had contact with the infected group are being monitored for symptoms and the public health authority “is expecting more cases of measles” among them.

Other isolated cases have also been reported in Ontario and Manitoba provinces in recent months. – AFP