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Measles case confirmed on a plane that landed in Montreal

The Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL). (Daniel J. Rowe, CTV News) The Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL). (Daniel J. Rowe, CTV News)

A person with measles was on board a flight from Turkey that landed in Montreal on April 3, the Quebec Health Ministry and public health authorities have confirmed.

The person was on board Turkish Airlines flight TK35, which landed at 6 p.m. at Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau Airport.

Authorities have indicated that people on this flight may have been exposed to measles. Travellers or staff who were at the airport in the arrivals and baggage area between 6 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. may also have been exposed.

They are considered measles contact cases by Quebec public health.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through respiratory secretions, particularly by air. A single case can infect 16 unprotected people.

The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated against measles. According to the Quebec vaccination schedule, children receive the vaccine at 12 and 18 months of age.

Recently, however, the low vaccination rate in schools has given public health cause for concern, as there is currently a measles epidemic in Quebec.

As of April 10, 43 confirmed cases of measles had been reported since the start of 2024, mainly in the Montreal region.

People who have been vaccinated have very little chance of contracting the disease, but as a precautionary measure, authorities recommend monitoring for the appearance of symptoms in the days following exposure.

For those on Turkish Airlines flight TK35, public health is asking exposed passengers and staff to monitor their symptoms until April 24.

The first symptoms of measles are fever, nasal congestion with runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis (runny red eyes) and eyes sensitive to light. Later, rashes appear on the face and body.

If you have not been vaccinated and have been in contact with a case of measles, you should isolate yourself at home from the fifth day after exposure until the 14th day inclusive. A person is not contagious during the first four days following exposure.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 11, 2024.

The Canadian Press health content is funded through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Press is solely responsible for editorial choices. Top Stories

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