Five new measles cases have been diagnosed in Saskatchewan since April 25, but as of yet, there haven't been any recent occurrences of the disease in the Sun Country Health Region (SCHR).
Dr. Shauna Hudson, the medical health officer for the SCHR, is urging parents to ensure that their children receive two doses of the vaccine by 18 months of age. Two doses of the measles vaccine are required for full protection.
The first dose is recommended after the child's first birthday, and the second dose is urged to come at 18 months of age.
Parents should call their local public health nurse for an appointment if their children are not up to date with their measles immunizations, Hudson said.
"One in a thousand children who get measles will die," Hudson said. "It can cause a very severe disease that will lead to injuries to the brain. It's a very serious disease that's preventable by being vaccinated."
Since infants can't be immunized against measles before their first birthday, they are at risk if they're exposed to someone carrying the disease. Children and adults who have health conditions that affect their immune system can't be immunized versus measles, either, and so they're vulnerable to the disease.
Sun Country is above the provincial average for vaccination rates. The health region's numbers indicate that 85.2 per cent of children have had two doses of the measles vaccine by their second birthday, compared to the provincial rate of 75.3 per cent.
Also, 97.5 per cent of SCHR children have had two doses of measles vaccine by their seventh birthday (91.3 per cent is the provincial average); and 98.9 per cent of SCHR children have had two doses of the measles vaccine by their 17th birthday. The provincial average is 96.4 per cent.
"It speaks to a long-term commitment by our public health team," said Hudson. "It's not just that we have good coverage rates among our infants and children, it shows that through being very diligent in our programming over the last 17 years and longer, that we have been able to sustain and achieve very good coverage rates."
Residents are also committed to receiving vaccinations to protect their children and communities, Hudson said.
"We don't just immunize to protect ourselves, we immunize so that we can't spread it to others who can't be immunized," said Hudson.
Measles is a highly infectious disease, and can be easily transmitted through the air. Symptoms can develop as early as seven days or as late as 21 days after exposure.
Symptoms include high fever, a cough, runny nose, red eyes and rash.
The rash generally starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.