By Joanne Woodward Fraser
(TORONTO, ON) – The Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Robin Williams, is issuing an important advisory to individuals who attended the Acquire the Fire event, a mass gathering of youth that was held in Toronto at Queensway Cathedral, on February 6 and 7.
A large number of youth from all over Ontario, as well as performers, volunteers, and speakers attended this event.
As a result of the on-going investigation into measles cases in this province, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care was advised of a person with a newly-confirmed case of measles who had attended the event during the measles infectious period.
Fortunately, most adolescents in Ontario are appropriately immunized with two doses of measles vaccine, and for most, this is highly effective at preventing measles. However, individuals who attended this event, and who were born after 1970, are requested to review their immunization status to ensure they are protected against measles.
Blood testing to check measles immunity is not required or recommended.
If persons have not been adequately immunized, they are requested to immediately self-isolate by staying at home and contact their local public health unit for important additional guidance. Or they can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000/TTY: 1-866-797-0007.
They should not attend any public gatherings and should not attend school, work, day care, or any post-secondary institutions until they are cleared of measles risk.
Symptoms of measles include at least one of fever, cough, runny nose, inflammation of the eyes, or rash. If individuals who attended this event should develop these symptoms over the next two weeks, they are advised to contact their primary care provider by phone and also the local public health unit.
Unimmunized event attenders who develop these signs and symptoms must not present for care to their health care provider or emergency department without speaking by phone first to alert health care providers to their measles risk.
The province of Ontario is working closely with Public Health Ontario, the health care system, and local public health officials to investigate and respond to this development.