SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Health officials in New Brunswick are dealing with three more confirmed cases of measles -- bringing the total to eight cases in the Saint John area.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer, says two of the new cases are linked to previous cases at Kennebecasis Valley High School, while the other case is related to a visit to the Emergency Department at the Saint John Regional Hospital.

Russell said other patients who were at the emergency department at the same time, have been contacted and offered a dose of the vaccine.

"Yes, those people are being offered a clinic today. They have all been contacted this morning and invited to a clinic this afternoon," she said.

On Friday, public health officials issued a directive advising staff and students at the school that they must receive a measles booster shot if they want to continue working and studying at the school.

Russell said by Monday afternoon, about 950 students and staff had been given the vaccine.

She said very few people did not get it.

"I think there's a handful of people who either didn't get the message, didn't go or couldn't go, so there's still a handful we would be offering that third dose to."

She said every time there is a new case, the patient is interviewed to learn where they have been in order to track down as many people as possible who may have been exposed.

"Every time there is a case, we do extensive contact tracing. We offer the immunization, the third dose of MMR if it's within the 72 hour window of opportunity in terms of providing protection in that situation. Fingers crossed we don't have any more cases, but the potential is there."

Russell said measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease and vaccination is the best possible protection.

Early symptoms of the virus may include fever, cough or tiny white spots in the mouth. Within three to seven days, a red rash will appear, first on the face and then spreading to the body, arms and legs.

Russell said anyone who believes they have symptoms should call 811 to get advice on what to do. She said anyone who potentially has the measles should not show up at an emergency department or their doctor's office unannounced.

-- By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.