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Friday,  April 12, 2024 8:42 PM 

Public warned of possible measles exposure at Toronto Pearson airport


Public warned of possible measles exposure at Toronto Pearson airport
Toronto Pearson International Airport. (Pax Global Media/File photo)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

This story was updated on Thursday, February 29 at 1:06 p.m. EST.



Toronto Pearson International Airport  (YYZ) is one of several locations that has been named in an investigation that is tracking possible public exposure to the measles virus.

The Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) – the public health department in Brantford, ON – issued an alert on Wednesday (Feb. 28), confirming a case of measles in a child resident of Brantford-Brant.

The health unit said the child became ill during a recent trip to Europe and that the individual is currently hospitalized.

The BCHU is now following up with known contacts who may have been exposed to the virus through the child.

In its investigation, the BCHU has identified locations where the child may have exposed others to the highly-contagious illness – Toronto Pearson airport being one.

Travellers who passed through Pearson airport’s Terminal 1 on Feb. 23, 2024, between the hours of 5:55 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST may have been exposed to measles, the BCHU says.

Passengers on Lufthansa Flight 6584 (co-branded as Air Canada Flight 857) from London Heathrow, United Kingdom to Pearson airport, on Feb. 23, 2024 between the hours of 3 p.m. (local London time) and 5:55 p.m. (local Toronto time) may also have been exposed.

Additionally, Brantford General Hospital’s Emergency Department on Feb. 23, 2024, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2:02 a.m., as well as McMaster Children’s Hospital's Emergency Department on Feb. 24, 2024, between the hours of 6:51 a.m. to 2:09 p.m., have been flagged.

The BCHU believes there are no school-related exposures related to the infected individual.

Serious, but preventable

Measles is a highly-contagious illness caused by a virus, which spread easily from person to person.

“More than 90 per cent of persons exposed at home to a child with measles will catch it,” the BCHU says.

It is an airborne disease that is spread by breathing in air that contains the measles virus. Measles can also live in the air for up to two hours when a person has coughed or sneezed, the BCHU says.

It may also be spread by direct contact with the nose or throat droplets of an infected person.

Symptoms of measles include a red rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and fatigue.

“Measles is a serious illness, but it is preventable. Studies show that the measles vaccine (MMR) is 99 per cent effective in preventing measles after two doses. It’s important for all Ontarians to ensure they are fully vaccinated against measles, especially before travelling,” said Dr. Rebecca Comley, medical officer of health at the BCHU, in a statement.

Symptoms may start around 10 days after exposure but can start anywhere from seven to 21 days after exposure, the BCHU says. Symptoms will generally last for one to two weeks.

Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to measles should check their immunization records to confirm they and their family members are up to date with their vaccinations and contact their healthcare provider.

Alternatively, they can call the BCHU at 519-753-4937 ext. 454.

For more information about measles, visit bchu.org/measles.


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