Category "Measles"


B.C. measles immunization program off to good start, figures likely to increase

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A province-wide program designed to help individuals catch-up on their measles immunizations is off to a good start.


A provincewide program designed to help individuals catch-up on their measles immunizations is off to a good start.

According to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, the program has offered 15,796 doses of measles-containing vaccine since its launch April 1 until May 30 to kids in kindergarten up to Grade 12.

A news release noted that figure was a preliminary total and is expected to increase when all records are collected from community pharmacists and care-providers.

During the first two months of the program:
• A total of 858 in-school clinics and 2,388 public health clinics were hosted throughout B.C.
• Immunization records for 566,106 students were reviewed.

Still another 230 in-school immunization clinics and more than 900 public health clinics are scheduled through the end of June.

The B.C. government expects to share details in the fall about how it will require students to report their immunization status.

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Another measles case confirmed in the Lower Mainland

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Measles vaccine.

Eric Risberg/AP file photo

Another case of measles has been confirmed in the Lower Mainland, bringing the total number of cases in B.C. to 22, according to the Fraser Health Authority.

Dr. Shovita Padhi, a medical officer with Fraser Health, said the new case is unrelated to an outbreak in Vancouver earlier this year, and was acquired abroad.

Padhi wouldn’t specify where the person was infected, but said with measles cases rising dramatically across the globe, it’s crucial anyone travelling outside Canada ensures they have had two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).

The person used public transit March 27, while they were infectious, and an investigation determined when and where people may have been exposed:

• The No. 323 bus between 8 and 11 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m.

• The Expo Line between 8 and 11 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m.

• Lobby and elevators at 666 Burrard St. in Vancouver and the Ascenda School of Management, at the same location, between 8:55 a.m. and 2:05 p.m.

The 323 bus travels between Newton Exchange and Surrey Central Station.

Transit-users cue to board the No. 323 Coast Mountain bus at the Surrey Central Exchange.

Ric Ernst /


Padhi urges anyone who may have been exposed to keep an eye out for symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a rash that first develops at the hairline. If they seek medical attention, they should call their doctor’s office first to avoid exposing other people, she added.

Padhi said immunization in the Fraser Health region has improved this year, with public-health units administering 5,768 MMR vaccines since mid-February this year, compared with 2,882 of the vaccines during the same period in 2018.

Two cases of measles were reported by Island Health on March 29 and Interior Health issued two bulletins about possible public exposures in the area of 100 Mile House on March 9 and 22, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Another case was confirmed in the Fraser Valley earlier in March.

Twelve of the 15 cases in Vancouver have been directly linked to an outbreak that began at École Secondaire Jules-Verne and École Rose-Des-Vents, after a student contracted the disease during an overseas family trip. The remaining three cases were acquired while travelling, but not linked to the school outbreak.

Last month, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced $3 million in additional funding for the measles vaccine and a campaign to encourage immunization through the schools, health authorities and media.

-With files from Stephanie Ip and Vaughn Palmer

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BC to launch measles catch-up campaign with shots at schools, clinics

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Measles: Latest case located in Fraser Valley, linked to outbreak

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Two more measles cases in Vancouver, bringing total to 15 infections

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Two new cases of measles have been reported in Vancouver, bringing the total number of infections in the area to 15.

Vancouver Coastal Health said both new cases are related to the outbreak centred on two French-language schools.

It says both individuals had been receiving follow-up care as they were known to have been exposed to people with measles infections.

Of the 15 measles cases in the Vancouver area, 12 are related to the school outbreak that began when one child acquired the disease while travelling in Asia.

The health authority says the three other cases are unrelated to the school outbreak and were acquired while the people were travelling.

The authority says it’s possible that more cases might occur in people who were previously exposed, since the incubation period for measles is 21 days.

A nurse prepares a combined vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella

Luke Hendry /

Luke Hendry/Belleville Intellige

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Vancouver measles outbreak: Unlikely to spread but everyone should be vaccinated

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Two new measles cases in Vancouver as outbreak spreads to Edmonton

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Vancouver health authorities confirmed two new cases of measles in the city, separate from the ongoing outbreak linked to two francophone schools.

The two individuals contracted measles while travelling and are unrelated to the outbreak that began at École Jules‐Verne and École Rose-Des-Vents.

The update came the same day Alberta Health Services issued a measles exposure warning in that province, after a passenger with measles travelled from Vancouver to Edmonton on an Air Canada flight earlier this month.

According to AHS, an individual with a confirmed case of measles was found to have visited Leduc, Alta. while infectious. The person boarded Air Canada flight AC236 departing from Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 10:25 a.m. and landed at Edmonton International Airport around 12:54 p.m.


The infected traveller then took an airport shuttle, which dropped off travellers to Paradise Inn and Suites, Crystal Star Inn, Wyndham Garden Edmonton Airport, and Wingate by Wyndham between 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Other exposure times include Feb. 12 at Walmart Supercentre (5 to 7 p.m.); Feb. 13 on board an airport shuttle pickup from Crystal Star Inn (6:30 to 7a.m.), a Canadian North Flight #5T-444 to Inuvik departing from Edmonton airport around 7:45 a.m.; Feb. 12 and 13 at Stars Inn Hotel (3 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.)

“Given the timeframe of the potential exposure, post-exposure immunization is not effective,” read a AHS health advisory.

“Individuals are encouraged to monitor for symptoms for 21 days after the date of potential exposure, which could be up to March 5, 2019.”

VCH is expected to provide an update Sunday afternoon about the new cases of measles.

A measles outbreak is underway in Vancouver, after an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a trip to Vietnam last month. The child visited B.C. Children’s Hospital and returned to school in late January and early February, prompting Vancouver Coastal Health to issue a warning.

Up to 36 people linked to the child’s school have been ordered to stay at home because they are either unvaccinated and are waiting out the incubation period, or have been able to provide proof of immunization.

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B.C. pharmacists push immunization after Vancouver measles outbreak

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Community pharmacists in B.C. have joined a chorus of health officials urging residents to get vaccinated after a recent outbreak of measles in Vancouver.

The B.C. Pharmacy Association is reminding the public that pharmacists across the province are prepared to give booster shots or new vaccinations to adults and children five years or older. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is publicly-funded and available from pharmacists in nearly every community, the association said in a news release Friday.

“Community pharmacists are one of the most accessible health care providers and have had the authority to provide injections since 2009,” said the association’s CEO, Geraldine Vance.

“Families and individuals looking to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date can go to their local pharmacist for care.”

Vancouver Coastal Health also recommends vaccinations. People who have previously had the infection do not need immunization.

B.C. children born in or after 1994 routinely get two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, one dose when they turn a year old and another before they start kindergarten.

People born before 1994 or who grew up outside of B.C. may need a second dose. People born before 1970 are likely immune; but if they aren’t sure whether they have had the infection, they can safely get the MMR vaccine.

Vaccinations and boosters are also available at doctors’ offices, and Immunization B.C. provides a map of local health units offering publicly-funded vaccinations at immunizebc.ca/finder. Services vary by location.


Measles in B.C.: How we got here and what you need to know

Burnaby family on edge after high-risk baby exposed to measles at children’s hospital

Earlier this week, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said measles is a “serious and highly contagious disease” and that getting inoculated is the best way to avoid getting sick — and transmitting it to others who may be unprotected.

Tam’s comments Tuesday came after a cluster of nine cases of measles in Vancouver that began in recent weeks after an unvaccinated Canadian child contracted the disease on a family trip to Vietnam.

The rate of immunization among students at the two Vancouver schools where the outbreak originated has since increased, according to an update earlier this week from Vancouver Coastal Health.

At École Secondaire Jules‐Verne and École Rose-Des-Vents, both francophone schools, the measles immunization rate is now 95.5 and 94 per cent respectively, said Althea Hayden, a medical health officer, at a news conference Tuesday.

“Before this outbreak started, we had documentation for only about 70 per cent of students having immunity,” said Hayden, adding that the rise in immunity is not just due to new vaccinations but also the result of those who have now reported their vaccination records, when their immunization status was previously undeclared.

Herd immunity requires a threshold of about 92 per cent.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control tracks child immunization and reports that 82.1 per cent of children aged seven had been immunized for measles in 2018, compared to 88.4 per cent in 2017 and 90.2 per cent in 2016.

With files from Tiffany Crawford, Stephanie Ip and The Canadian Press

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Measles in BC: Timeline and what you need to know

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Not long ago, measles cases were far and few in between.

There were two cases in 2016 and just one in 2017. There were six cases confirmed in 2018.

The last outbreak of measles in B.C. was in 2014 when 343 cases were reported. Those cases were linked to an outbreak in a religious community that objects to vaccination.

Last week, Vancouver Coastal Health declared a measles outbreak in the city after as many as nine cases were reported in Vancouver.

Here’s how we got here and what you need to know.

Vancouver Coastal Health has declared a measles outbreak in Vancouver.

Sean Gallup /

Getty Images


January / February 2019: An individual who has been confirmed as having measles visited the emergency room at B.C. Children’s Hospital during the following times:
• Jan. 21, 2019 – 10 a.m. to 6:10 p.m.
• Jan. 23, 2019 – 4:45 p.m. to 11:10 p.m.
• Jan. 24, 2019 – 8:13 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.
• Feb. 1, 2019 – 2:05 p.m. to 6:55 p.m.
If you also visited on those days during those times, contact your health care provider.

Jan. 25, 2019: Washington state declared a state of emergency due to the measles outbreak. As of Feb. 17, a total of 62 cases were confirmed, but there was no evidence the cases in Washington are linked to those in B.C.

Feb. 9, 2019: The first B.C. case of measles leading up to the current outbreak was confirmed. By the time this case was confirmed, it was past the point of being infectious.

Feb. 13, 2019: VCH announced a second case of measles was confirmed in the city; there are no indications it is linked to the first case. The patient was a school-aged child who was infected locally, not while travelling abroad.

Feb. 14, 2019: An online petition calling on the province to make vaccinations mandatory in B.C. schools has picked up traction. Just one day after the second case of measles was announced, the petition had already garnered more than 1,800 signatures. Another five days later, the petition now has nearly 27,000 signatures.

Feb. 15, 2019: Health officials confirmed there were several cases of measles at three French-language schools in Vancouver: École Jules‐Verne, École Anne‐Hébert and École Rose-Des-Vents. The cases are occurring in staff, students and family members linked to the schools.

More to come.

A symptom of measles includes a rash that starts on the torso and spreads to the limbs.


What’s the deal with measles and what should I know?

Measles is highly infectious. Highly. It can be spread through coughing, sneezing, breathing the same air as an infected person, sharing food or drinks, sharing a cigarette and yes, even through kissing a person with measles.

The measles virus can survive for several hours in small droplets in the air.

Most people will recover but those with a weak immune system or infants could experience serious complications. Those could include encephalitis (an infection and swelling of the brain), meningitis, pneumonia, deafness and infection of the liver.

Measles in B.C. is usually rare and linked to cases of unvaccinated residents returning from overseas travel.

How do I know if I have measles?

The incubation period is about 10 days and the symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that starts on the body and spreads to the limbs. The rash lasts at least three days. You may also have small white spots inside your mouth.

The symptoms can begin as early as a week after being infected.

Some people may have measles, be infectious and not even know it. Those who are infected can spread the virus anywhere from four days before to four days after a rash appears.

How do I protect against measles? How do I know whether I’ve been vaccinated?

Health officials recommend two doses of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine to be fully protected against measles. The first immunization is usually received at the age of one, while the second usually comes before starting kindergarten.

If you’re unsure if you’ve been vaccinated, the first stop is to check your health records.

Born in or after 1994 here in B.C.? You’re likely to be immune because those born in or after 1994 here in B.C. will have had two doses of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, the first dose when they turn a year old and a second before starting kindergarten, as part of routine vaccinations.

Born between 1970 and 1994? Grew up outside of B.C.? You may have only received one dose of the MMR vaccine. You’ll need a second dose to be protected.

Born before 1970? Or you’ve already had measles in the past? You’re likely to be immune.

Can’t remember if you’ve had one or two doses of the vaccine? The Canadian Centre for Disease Control says adults who do not have evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR. It’s entirely safe to get the vaccine again.

I’m not vaccinated and I’ve been exposed to measles. What now? How do I treat it?

If you’ve been exposed to measles and you’re not vaccinated, you’ll need to get a dose of the MMR vaccine within 72 hours of exposure to prevent the illness.

But wait – don’t go to the emergency room or a doctor’s office without calling first. You’ll be highly contagious and the last thing you want is to spread it even further. Calling ahead will allow doctors make arrangements for your arrival and to ensure you’re isolated from other vulnerable patients.

–with files from Tiffany Crawford, Postmedia

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