Measles confirmed on Air Canada flight from Zurich to Toronto
Risk of acquiring measles is believed to be low, but Toronto Public Health suggests anyone on the March 6 flight check their immunization records.
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Public health officials are investigating after a case of measles was confirmed on an Air Canada flight from Zurich to Toronto, and warned that other passengers on the plane could have been exposed.
The risk of acquiring measles is believed to be low, but Toronto Public Health suggests anyone who could have been exposed on the flight check their immunization records and ensure their measles vaccinations are up-to-date.
Air Canada flight 0879 on March 6 departed Zurich airport in Switzerland at 9:25 a.m. and arrived at Pearson airport at 12:07 p.m.
“It’s important for people to check their vaccination history,” said Dr. Rita Shahin, associate medical officer of health for Toronto Public Health.
“Most people we know will be fully immunized, hopefully, and not at risk of acquiring measles.”
Anyone who has not received two doses of a measles vaccine or has not had measles in the past is at risk of contracting the disease.
“Usually measles starts with something that’s hard to differentiate from a common cold — so cough, runny nose, people may have red, watery eyes,” Shahin said.
Other symptoms of measles include a high fever, sore eyes or a sensitivity to light and a red rash that lasts four to seven days.
People experiencing measle-like symptoms should contact their health-care provider before going to the facility so preventive measures can be taken to avoid spreading the disease further.
Last month, another Air Canada flight from Zurich to Toronto had a confirmed case of measles with an infant. Peel Public Health said passengers on the Feb. 12 flight may have been exposed, but that no other flights or travellers at Pearson were at risk.
“I think it’s probably just a coincidence that both flights were coming from the same place,” Shahin said.
“But we do know that Zurich is a hub for people who are transiting from other places. So it may be that individuals were coming through from other countries passed through there, and that’s why we’re seeing the flights from Zurich come up.”
There were five cases of measles in Toronto in 2017, Shahin said, and none in 2016. Most of the cases are “travel-related,” she added.
“It’s rare to have it spread locally.”
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