British Columbia

Air China Flight 991 to Vancouver passengers at risk of measles

Passengers on another flight from Beijing to Vancouver may be at risk of contracting measles, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.

Passenger on flight had measles, may have caught disease on other flight 2 weeks ago

Vancouver Coastal Health is advising passengers on Air China flight CA991 to get the measles vaccine if they haven't been immunized. (Lukas Schulze/dpa/Associated Press)

Passengers on a second flight from Beijing to Vancouver may be at risk of contracting measles, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.

A person diagnosed with measles exposed people on Air China Flight 991 — also labelled Air Canada Flight 6601 — which landed at Vancouver International Airport at 12:15 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 4.

The infected person had been on board another Beijing-Vancouver flight two weeks ago where two passengers had measles, said Dr. Reka Gustafson of Vancouver Coastal Health.

A total of nine people became infected with measles after flying on the March 21 flight or having come in contact with someone who was on that flight, including a high school student from Lord Byng Secondary in Vancouver, said Gustafson.

She said the measles-infected person on the April 4 flight likely caught it on the flight two weeks earlier. Gustafson wouldn't comment on whether the infected person worked for the airline.

"These recent cases associated with international travel are a reminder that all travellers should ensure they are up to date with their measles and other vaccinations before travelling," the health authority said in a statement.

Passengers told to get immunized

Vancouver Coastal Health is warning passengers on the April 4 flight that they have been exposed to measles, which is highly infectious.

"They should check their immunization records and get a vaccine immediately," said Gustafson.

Health officials recommend two doses of the vaccine for people born after 1970, and one dose of vaccine for those born between 1957 and 1970. People born before 1957 are considered immune to measles, and do not need a vaccine.

Gustafson said if someone isn't certain whether they were immunized as a child, it is safe to receive the vaccine again.

Passengers on the flight should also watch for the following symptoms until the 21-day incubation period is finished on April 25:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Runny nose.
  • Conjunctivitis, or pink eye.
  • Red rash.