Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. Over 90% of people who are not immune to measles and who come into contact with the virus will become infected.
For most people it is an illness that they will recover from with no problems, but there can be some severe complications.
Recently Canada has seen an increase in the amount of measles cases, especially in the Vancouver area.
Thirteen cases of measles have now been confirmed in British Columbia, most of them linked to a pair of French-language schools in Vancouver after an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a trip to Vietnam.
Meanwhile, health officials are warning that a person with measles who passed through Edmonton International Airport may have exposed others to the infection as they travelled.
Alberta Health Services said in a news release that an individual with a lab-confirmed case of measles arrived on an Air Canada flight from Vancouver on February 12th, then rode in an airport shuttle to a hotel in Leduc.
The health agency said the person visited a store in Leduc later that day, and left Edmonton on a Canadian North flight for Inuvik on February 13th.
Officials in the Northwest Territories also issued a statement, warning that a person flew to Inuvik from an ``international destination'' on February 13th, and that the person's travels also took them through Yellowknife and Norman Wells the same day.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Dr. Howard Njoo says symptoms can be tricky to judge.
"The symptoms you will get initially will be along the lines of having a fever, a cough, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability, red eyes and a sensitivity to light," explains Dr. Njoo.
The most classic and tell tale sign that you have measles is a red blotchy rash. It starts on the face about 3-7 days after the start of the symptoms and then progresses down the body.
The average incubation periods is 10 days, but can be as long as 21 days, so a person could be travelling and unaware that they are infecting people.
Despite measles being officially eliminated in Canada back in 1998, there continues to be yearly outbreaks across the country.
"Before the introduction of the measles vaccine, there were annually about 100 million cases and up to 6 million deaths per year," said Dr. Njoo. "With the introduction of the vaccine in Canada and around the world, the rates have dropped dramatically, which speaks to the importance of vaccination."
Dr. Njoo says we have seen the number of cases creep up in recent years due to a drop in the vaccination rate country wide.
He says our ideal vaccination rate is 95 percent, but in recent years we have only had a rate of 89-90 percent.
"As long as there are cases of measles occurring anywhere in the world, there is always that risk in Canada," Dr. Njoo explains. "Any Canadian planning to travel overseas should make sure their vaccinations are up to date."
If you believe you have measles you are encouraged to contact a health care professional, but are asked to alert the office before heading in to see the doctor.