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Recently a WestJet employee who was on the following seven flights had been diagnosed with the measles virus, and there was a fear that other co-passengers travelling with him could have been exposed to the illness, media reports said.
The WestJet crew member, diagnosed with measles was on the following flights:
March 22 – WS450 Abbotsford to Calgary, March 22 – WS610 Calgary to Ottawa, March 22 – WS369 Ottawa to Toronto, March 23 – WS590 Toronto to Montreal, March 24 – WS581 Montreal to Toronto, March 24 – WS2668 Toronto to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, March 24 – WS2669 Providenciales, Turks and Caicos to Toronto.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) informed the airline of the situation and the airline staff started to contact travellers who might have been exposed.
WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart via email to Global News said, “Health and safety is our top priority and we are working very closely with the Toronto Public Health and following its recommended protocol for managing this situation,” GlobalNews reports said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) had been reminding Canadians, especially travellers, to make sure their measles vaccinations were up to date.
PHAC said symptoms of measles include: fever, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability, red eyes/sensitivity to light, small white spots on the inside of the mouth and throat, red blotchy rash on the face which progresses down the body.
After your return to Canada from your recent travel and you encounter symptoms similar to measles you should see a health care provider. Before making an appointment, you should describe your symptoms over the phone, said PHAC, so that doctor’s office can arrange to see you without others being exposed to measles.
TPH said anyone who had not had two doses of the vaccine or had not had measles in the past is at risk of infection. Infants, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems can become very ill with measles.
Six cases of the measles had been confirmed In western Nova Scotia. The outbreak had been caused by a highly contagious virus which, medical officials said, could be contained through vaccination with two doses of measles-containing vaccine.
World Health Organization (WHO) reported that measles was one of the leading causes of death among young children.
WHO added measles vaccination had resulted in a 79 percent drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2015 worldwide.
Children as young as six months of age, can be administered measles vaccine, if they are travelling to countries with wide-spread measles, said PHAC.
PHAC also said if measles vaccine is given to a child less than 12 months old, another dose should be given soon after their first birthday.
Children between the ages of 6 months and 12 months who had been exposed to measles, PHAC recommended the preventative use of immunoglobulin within six days.
According to PHAC there was no specific treatment for measles. Symptoms were usually treated with medication to reduce fever and fluids and most people fully recover.
Severe complications arising from measles can be avoided, said WHO by supportive care and good nutrition practice and adequate fluid intake. WHO-recommended oral rehydration solution treats dehydration by replacing fluids and other essential elements that are lost through diarrhoea or vomiting. Prescription of antibiotics to treat eye and ear infections, and pneumonia, is recommended by WHO.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of measles infection: Wikipedia