Vancouver facing measles outbreak with 9 confirmed cases
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) officials say the city is facing a measles outbreak, and have now confirmed nine cases.
The health authority said eight of those cases were linked to three French language public schools in the city, and centred around École Jules‐Verne Secondary.
“Cases are occurring in staff, students and family members associated with the school,” said medical health officer Dr. Althea Hayden.
“We have determined that measles was brought into this community through travel outside of North America, and that [it is] unrelated to the case of measles that was reported earlier this month in a gentleman that returned form the Philippines.”
Hayden said one of the people infected with measles visited the emergency room at B.C. Children’s Hospital, and that VCH has not been able to notify all people that have been exposed.
Anyone who was at the hospital within the following time periods and feels sick should contact a doctor, she said.
- Jan. 21 — 10 a.m. to 6:10 p.m.
- Jan. 23 — 4:45 p.m. to 11:10 p.m.
- Jan. 24 — 8:13 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
- Feb. 1 — 2 p.m. to 6:55 p.m.
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Officials have confirmed cases at École Jules‐Verne and École Rose des Vents. Another suspected case is being investigated at École Anne‐Hébert.
Students at École Jules‐Verne and Rose des Vents may not attend school without proof of immunization.
“We require when there’s measles circulating, as it is, we require people to have proof of immunity to attend school,” she said.
“We take the idea of asking children not to attend school extremely seriously, and we are doing everything in our power to minimize both the number of children affected and the amount of time that they are out of school.”
Measles is highly infectious, and can spread through the air. Close contact is not needed to contract the disease, though people can also get it by sharing food, drinks, cigarettes or kissing someone.
Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed several days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the body.
It can cause serious complications ranging from pneumonia through to brain damage and death.
VCH says with the growing number of cases, the risk of transmission is now elevated.
Two doses of the measles vaccine is effective in 99 per cent of the time, and the majority of new cases are in people who were born after 1970 and have had just one or no doses, VCH said.
The agency said people born between 1970 and 1994 or who grew up outside B.C. may have only had a single dose.
Anyone who wishes to get the vaccine can get immunized for free at a community health centre, the City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre, or potentially through their doctor or pharmacist.
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