Brandon, MB (CKLQ) - Health officials in Westman are keeping an eye on the current measles outbreak that is spreading like wildfire across the United States.
Over 260 cases of the measles has been confirmed since January 1st, and 71 in the last week alone. The majority of these cases appear to have originated in New York state.
Meanwhile, here in Canada there have been 10 confirmed cases of the disease in Vancouver, Victoria and Montreal.
"The question is, are health care providers and the general public to be worried that the same type of epidemic could happen in Manitoba? The answer is yes," said Dr. Amy Frykoda, the Medical Officer for Prairie Mountain Health.
Measles is a highly contagious disease, that can cause fever, rash, cough, and in its worst form, brain inflammation.
"Measles is a very serious public health threat," added Frykoda. "Most children will recover from this disease but we know that kids with measles are at risk for serious complications that can affect the lungs, the brain and can even cause death."
Frykoda says that Manitoba has been relatively lucky in the last number of years, with just a few minor cases being reported. However, health officials do have a protocol in place if a patient begins to show signs and symptoms of the disease.
Currently, there are two doses of a preventative vaccine available to children, one that is administered between 12 and 14 months and a second one between the age of 4 and 6.
Frykoda suggests that all parents check with their family doctor about measles and discuss the benefits of the vaccine.
"It is important that our health care providers get the message out of the importance of this vaccine," she said. "When you get the needle, you are both protecting yourself and your community."
For more information on measles in Manitoba, CLICK HERE