Were you on Air Canada flight 879 on Monday, February 12th? If so, you may have been exposed to the measles virus. According to Peel Public Health, they were able to confirm a case of measles in an infant that was on the flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Toronto, Ontario.
The measles, which is also known as rubeola, is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. There are at least 21 different strains of the virus itself, and it is considered to be highly contagious. An infected individual can spread the measles virus into the air simply by coughing and/or sneezing.
What are the Measles?
The measles is most commonly spread through coming into contact with mucus or saliva that has already been infected, and i An infected individual can spread the measles virus into the air simply by coughing or sneezing; you can also develop the measles as a result of sharing utensils or drinking from the glass of an already infected person. The measles virus can also live on surfaces for up to several hours at a time, meaning anyone in close proximity of infected particles can become infected with the virus themselves.
Symptoms of Measles
The most classic sign of measles is a widespread skin rash. This rash typically develops within the first 3 to 5 days of being exposed to the virus and can last for up to 7 days. Other common symptoms of measles include cough, fever, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose, red and/or watery eyes, sensitivity to light, and you may even develop white spots inside of your mouth. It’s also possible for complications to arise as a result of having the measles. Complications include respiratory infections (which can be fatal if not treated), ear infections, eye infections, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you are pregnant and develop the measles, this can sometimes lead to miscarriage, premature birth, or could also result in your baby having a low birth weight.
Who Gets the Measles?
While anyone is at risk of developing the measles, the vast majority of those who do tend to get the virus are often unvaccinated children and adults, and/or those with already compromised health and immune systems.
How to Avoid the Measles
Unfortunately, because there is no cure for the measles, prevention is key. If you were on Air Canada flight 879 and suspect you might have the measles, family physician Dr. Ali Ghahary says it is important that you first call your doctor’s office rather than going directly to them in order to prevent the virus from spreading to other patients and medical staff. If it is confirmed that you do have the measles, the most important thing to do is to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. In most cases, the measles will generally go away on their own within 7 to 10 days. It is also important to note that antibiotics do not cure the measles. An antibiotic will be prescribed, however, if you develop a secondary infection (i.e. respiratory infection) as a result of having the measles.