We are providing this information at the request of the Ministère de l’Éducation.

It contains messages from the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux addressed to parents of students and school staff members.

Cases of measles have been confirmed in various regions in Québec. Measles outbreaks have also been reported in many countries, which leads us to believe that, for the next few months, Québec is at risk of seeing an increase in the number of cases.


Measles is a very contagious disease. It can be very serious, especially for young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. There is no specific treatment for this disease.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself. Two (2) doses of the vaccine provide over 95% protection.

If you are a parent, check your child’s Vaccination Record booklet to see if they are protected. The vaccines may have different brand names. People who were born after 1970 and who have never had a vaccination against measles should get themselves vaccinated.

In Québec, a person is protected if:

  • They were born after 1980.
    • They have received 2 doses of the vaccine (starting at 12 months of age).
  • They were born between 1970 and 1979.
    • have already had measles and have proof (medical certificate or blood test)
    • have received one dose of the vaccine and are not health-care workers or trainees, travellers or military recruits
    • have received two doses of the vaccine and are health-care workers or trainees, travellers or military recruits
  • They were born before 1970.
    • They are considered to be protected, even without having been vaccinated.
  • No matter their age.
    • They have already had measles and have proof (medical certificate or blood test).

Examples of names of measles vaccines

• Priorix • Priorix-Tetra • MMR II • ProQuad • Attenuvax • Moru-Viraten • Rimevax • RRO • Trivirix • Measles vaccine

It is strongly recommended that people who are not protected get themselves vaccinated as quickly as possible. If there is an outbreak in a school, all children and adults who are not protected will be sent home and will have to isolate there. They may return to school after presenting a valid proof of vaccination or after 14 days since the identification of the case. This isolation period may be extended by additional periods of 14 days if another case is detected.

How does the virus spread?

The virus spreads when a person breathes the same air as someone who is infected, even at a distance of more than 2 metres (6 feet). The virus can stay suspended in the air for a few hours and even disperse through the air. Measles can also spread through direct contact by touching an infected person or contaminated objects.

Measles is a highly contagious disease. If a person who is not protected comes into contact with someone who is infected, there is a 9 out of 10 chance that they will catch the disease.

What are the possible complications?

Measles can cause ear infections and persistent diarrhea, especially in infants, and also rare but serious complications. Children who get measles risk developing a lung infection (pneumonia), hearing and/or vision loss, a brain infection (around 1 case out of 1000 to 2000) or even death. About 1 out of 10 people must be treated in hospital.

Anyone who is infected can develop complications, especially:

  • children under a year old
  • pregnant women (risk of miscarriage or premature labour)
  • people with weakened immune systems

What are the symptoms of measles?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Conjunctivitis (red, watery eyes and sensitivity to light)
  • Red spots or rash on the skin (first on the face, then on the whole body)

A person who has measles is considered contagious from 4 days before to 4 days after the rash appears. The illness lasts 1 to 2 weeks.

What should you do if you, your child or another family member has symptoms of measles?

If your child or another family member has symptoms of measles, keep them at home and call Info-Santé (811). If you have to go to a clinic or hospital, call before you go to let them know that the person might have measles. Wearing a mask is recommended.

To receive the free vaccine, go to Clic-Santé to book an appointment or call 1‑877‑644‑4545.

Thank you for your collaboration and vigilance

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