Health and Community Services
March 15, 2019

Public Advisory: Information Regarding Measles Vaccinations for Infants Travelling Outside North America or to Areas With Known Outbreaks

A number of localized outbreaks of measles in Canada and the United States have brought increased attention to this disease. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of measles in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This highly-infectious disease is transmitted through the air or through contact with the nasal secretions of an infected person. Symptoms develop seven to 18 days after exposure to the virus. Fever usually develops 10 days after exposure, and a rash usually appears at 14 days. Some other symptoms of measles include:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes

Complications from measles include ear infection, pneumonia, blindness, and brain inflammation (encephalitis). Measles during pregnancy results in a higher risk of early labour, miscarriage, and low infant birth weights. Measles is preventable with vaccine.

Vaccines are available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) or measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox) (MMRV). In this province, children are offered two doses of MMRV at 12 months and 18 months.

The MMR and MMRV vaccines are not routinely recommended for infants under 12 months, as antibodies against measles received from their mother during pregnancy can interfere with their response to the vaccine.

MMR vaccine is only recommended for infants six to 11 months of age in a single dose, if they are travelling to countries outside of North America or to areas with known ongoing outbreaks of measles. These children will still require two doses of MMRV vaccine at 12 and 18 months, to ensure longstanding protection against the virus.

Measles travel health notices can be found on the Government of Canada’s website at: travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices external link icon.

Newfoundland and Labrador adheres to the evidence-based, expert-developed recommendations by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. For more information on measles or measles vaccinations, please contact your regional public health office or a local travel health clinic.

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Media contact
Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-1982
kathydickspeyton@gov.nl.ca

2019 03 15                              2:20 p.m.