There has been two laboratory-confirmed cases of measles in Toronto in 2023.
Measles is a very contagious viral infection. Symptoms are red rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and feeling tired. It spreads through the air and close contact when a person infected with measles breathes, coughs, or sneezes.
In 2022, there was one case of measles in Toronto. The five-year average in Toronto is two cases of measles a year. Anyone who is not vaccinated or has not had a measles infection is at risk for getting sick with measles.
Vaccinations are very effective to prevent the spread of measles. During the pandemic, some people may have missed their measles vaccinations and should make sure they are up-to-date with their vaccines.
Due to travel, measles still occurs in Canada.
Learn more about the guidance for isolation and seeking medical care if you have measles symptoms AND; travelled to an area with measles, OR were exposed to someone with measles in the last 21 days.
For health care providers, more information about measles, including reporting suspected cases to Toronto Public Health, is available on our Measles Information for Health Professionals page.
The measles virus is in the nose and throat of an infected person. It can spread easily to others when they come in contact with droplets of an infected person or the air when an infected person has breathed, coughed or sneezed. The virus can enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Someone who is contagious with measles can spread it to others from four days before a rash appears to four days after the rash appears.
Measles virus can live up to two hours in the air after an infected person leaves the area.
Symptoms may start around 10 days after being exposed, but can start anywhere from seven to 21 days after exposure. Symptoms generally last for one to two weeks.
Infants under 12 months and people who are pregnant or have a weak immune system can get very sick from measles.
Measles can also lead to:
Measles in pregnancy can lead to premature delivery, low birth weight and miscarriage.
Two documented doses of measles-containing vaccine after the first birthday is considered protected.
One dose provides protection in about 85 per cent of people, and two doses provide over 95 per cent.
There are two measles-containing vaccines in Canada: MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) and MMRV (measles-mumps-rubella-varicella). MMRV also provides protection from chicken pox (varicella). Both vaccines are made up of weakened, live viruses.
See the MMR and MMRV vaccine fact sheet for more information.
Infants: at greatest risk since routine vaccination for measles does not begin until one year of age. Infants going to areas where there is measles can get the vaccine at 6 months of age before travel.
Born in 1970 or later: need 2 doses of measles vaccine for protection if they did not have measles. Children routinely get vaccinated after their first birthday and between ages four to six.
Born before 1970: may have had measles infection, since measles was present a lot during this time. Can get vaccinated if unsure.
Travellers to areas where measles is present: should get vaccinated before travel if they are not up-to-date or never had a measles infection.
Health care workers: need to be immune to work in health care. This includes either having proof of vaccinations or immunity (blood test) or record of confirmed measles infection.
Post-secondary students & Military personnel: should ensure vaccinations or proof of immunity.
Unsure about immunity: Get vaccinated with at least one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR). A blood test can also be done to find out if someone is immune if they think they had a measles infection in the past.
If you think you have Measles, it is important to:
Your doctor will assess you for measles and will test you if they suspect you have measles.
Measles is diagnosed with laboratory tests including a blood, urine and throat test.
If you have symptoms and travelled or were exposed to measles, call ahead and follow the isolation guidance.
There is no specific treatment for measles. Most people can recover at home. Hospitalization may be needed for severe infections. Measles vaccination is the best protection.
If you have been exposed to the measles virus, this chart will help you determine the best way to protect yourself. As a precaution, everyone who was exposed, regardless of what category you are in as described below, should monitor for symptoms.
If you do not have vaccination records, and cannot obtain then, then you can get revaccinated. You can contact your health care provider. Your local public health unit may have a copy of your vaccination records. Parents can update and look up vaccination records for school-aged children.
|I work in a healthcare setting, school, or daycare and have been exposed to someone who has measles.||Call Toronto Public Health at 416 338-7600 to discuss the specifics of your exposure and immunization status.||You are at higher risk of spreading the infection to vulnerable populations.|
|I am pregnant and have been exposed to someone who has measles.||Consult with your physician. Based on when you were born and your vaccination records, you may already be protected.||Your doctor will confirm your status by reviewing your vaccination records and/or giving you a blood test to check for measles immunity|
|I was born before 1970.||Anyone born before 1970 have likely developed immunity to the virus because measles was present then.||If you are unsure, you can get the MMR vaccine.|
|I was born between 1970-1995.||Confirm you had two doses of measles vaccines (eg. MMR). Two doses are needed for full protection. Some people in this age group may have only had 1 dose.||If you have no documentation of vaccination, get the MMR vaccine.|
|I was born after 1995.||Confirm you had two doses of measles vaccines (eg. MMR or MMRV) by checking your vaccination records.||In Ontario, all children are required to get two shots: the first dose is given on or after the first birthday and a second shot between 4 to 6 years of age.|
Tests for measles can be done at a laboratory and include a nose or throat swab, a urine test and sometimes blood work. The laboratory will process these tests to determine if an individual is infected with the measles virus. It can take a few days for the laboratory to confirm test results.
When a case of measles is confirmed, Toronto Public Health will continue with the case investigation and management.
Call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 (TTY at 416-392-0658) or speak to your health care provider.