News Release: Back from March Break? Be on the lookout for measles symptoms, health unit warns.

For Immediate Release 
Tuesday, March 19, 2024 | 10:00 a.m. | Windsor and Essex County

As school resumes after the March Break and rates of measles continue to grow across the province, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) is cautioning residents of this region to be aware of the symptoms of measles and to take measures if you suspect you may be infected.

The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads easily in the air when an infected person coughs, talks, or sneezes. If someone breathes in the virus particles in the air, even up to 2 hours after the person with the infection has left a closed space, like an aircraft, hotel room, or public space, they can become infected. It can also be spread by direct contact with the mucus or saliva (spit) of a person with measles through kissing or sharing food and drinks. Symptoms may appear 7 to 21 days after exposure and can include a fever, runny nose, cough, drowsiness, irritability, red eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth and throat. At this stage, the disease is very contagious. A red rash which can start on the face and move down the body may appear 3 to 7 days after the start of the above symptoms. Measles is most contagious 4 days prior to the development of the rash and continues to be infectious for 4 days after the rash develops.

If you or a family member are exposed to measles or are showing signs and symptoms, it is important to: 

  • Isolate immediately by staying home and avoiding contact with others.
  • Be assessed by your health care provider.
  • Call ahead before visiting your health care provider, a clinic or hospital so they can prepare for your arrival.
  • Wear a well-fitted, high-quality mask when seeking a medical assessment.

The best way to protect against measles is to receive two doses of the measles vaccine (MMR or MMRV vaccine). This vaccine is safe, very effective, and free for people who live, work, and attend school in Ontario. To ensure you are protected, contact your health care provider to confirm whether you are eligible for this vaccine.

For additional information about measles, including how it spreads, how it is treated, and how it can be prevented, please visit: