Preventative measures put in place after measles case at correctional facility


May 11, 2017


DARTMOUTH, N.S. – Following one confirmed measles case at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth earlier this week, Public Health has proceeded with some additional measures to help prevent further spread of measles.

Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, said that through Public Health’s investigation and contact tracing, opportunities were identified to help prevent further spread of the virus among those recently exposed.

“There is a lot of movement in and out of facilities, by both inmates and staff. We’ve been working with correctional facilities within Nova Scotia to provide vaccination clinics for inmates and staff.”

This includes Cape Breton Correctional Facility (Sydney), Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility (Pictou County), and Southwest Nova Scotia Correctional Facility (Yarmouth), as well as the Nova Institution for Women (Truro). Public Health is also coordinating with federal counterparts to offer a vaccination clinic at Springhill Institution.

Facilities in two other provinces have been notified about transferred inmates. Dr. Strang added that Public Health is also following up with individuals who have been released from Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility during the time period in question.

“We’re reaching out to those people directly, in addition to some community partners who may be supporting individuals who were possibly exposed at the correctional facility. This will allow us to ensure up to date immunization and identify further cases as quickly as possible.”

“Measles is a very contagious virus. Given the number of people possibly exposed and the shared space and setup of correctional facilities, it’s important that we act to prevent further spread at this point.” Dr. Strang noted that ensuring individuals are up to date with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine following an exposure can help prevent transmission.

The current outbreak of measles in Nova Scotia now has 23 confirmed cases. Risk to the general public remains low at this time and most people are protected from measles infection by being vaccinated. Individuals born before 1970 are likely immune from being exposed to measles as a child.

Public Health reminds the public to be aware of measles symptoms and what to do if they have them.

Symptoms of measles include:

  •  fever, cough, runny nose;
  • red eyes; 
  • a red blotchy rash on the face, which spreads down the body;
  • sleepiness; 
  • irritability (feeling cranky or in a bad mood);
  • small white spots may also show up inside the mouth and throat.

If you have symptoms of measles, you should:

  • Call Public Health at 1-844-856-3677
  • Call 811 for advice from a registered nurse. 
  • If you need to see a healthcare provider for assessment, such as your family doctor, please call ahead.

Healthcare providers need to take special precautions to protect other patients from being exposed. Measles is a viral illness and most people fully recover within two to three weeks. However, measles can have serious complications, which are more likely in infants, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

Public Health has been directly notifying others, such as family members and friends, who are known to have had close contact with a case.

So far in 2017 in Nova Scotia:

  • There have been two measles outbreaks.
  • The first was in January/February, with seven cases.
  • The second, and current outbreak, started in March and has 23 cases. 

The total number of measles cases this year in Nova Scotia is 30. 


Dr. Strang will have media availability at 3:30 p.m. today. Interviews can be arranged by calling Department of Health and Wellness media relations advisor Tracy Barron at 902-223-1465.

NSHA Media Contact:

Kristen Lipscombe

Senior Advisor, Media Relations

Provincial Media Line: 1-844-483-3344