Outbreak declared in Inuvik after second person gets measles

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A measles outbreak has been declared in Inuvik after it has been confirmed that a second person was infected with the virus.

This brings the number of people in the NWT with measles to two, both in Inuvik. The office of the chief public health officer declared the outbreak Wednesday, stating it is possible for people who are not immune to develop measles with the period of risk lasting until around March 26.

“At this time we do not expect other individuals outside of Inuvik to develop measles,” a public health advisory states.

For those in Inuvik who may be at risk, they are urged to monitor for symptoms including fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes or a rash starting on the face and spreading to the chest. Symptoms can develop from a week to 21 days after exposure to the virus.

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Locations and dates where people may have been exposed to measles. Department of Health and Social Services image

“If you develop symptoms, remain at home and call your health care provider immediately,” the advisory states. Calling ahead allows healthcare centres to prevent transmission of measles to other visitors.

The advisory states people are likely immune to the measles virus if they were born before 1970, born after 1970 aged 18 or older with one dose of measles vaccine, or are between one and 18 years old with two doses of measles vaccine.

If people want to confirm whether they, or their children, are immunized they should make an appointment with their local public health unit. For Inuvik residents, call 867-777-7246.

The health department called for anyone who is not immune to measles to contact their healthcare provider and review the option of being immunized.

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