British Columbia

New measles case confirmed in Vancouver

A case of measles has been confirmed in Vancouver, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.

The infection was acquired locally and is the second case in Vancouver this month

Two doses of measles vaccine are 99 per cent effective at preventing measles. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A case of measles has been confirmed in Vancouver, according to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).

According to a statement from the health authority, medical health officers determined the infection was acquired locally, as opposed to a case earlier this month, which was acquired abroad.

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can be spread through the air or through sharing food, drinks, cigarettes or kissing an infected person.

VCH says two doses of measles vaccine are 99 per cent effective at preventing measles. it says most cases occur in those born after 1970 who have not had any or only one dose of measles vaccine.

The health authority says it has notified people who were in contact with the infected individual and urged under-vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals in the contact group to be immunized.

B.C.'s measles control guidelines stipulate people who have been exposed to the measles virus and who are not immune may not attend school until Feb. 28, when the period of transmission has passed.

Who is at risk

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash a few days later on the face, spreading to the chest.

Complications from measles can include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, seizures, deafness and brain damage. It can also be fatal.

An infected person can spread measles before knowing they have been infected, as people are infectious to others from four days before to four days after the onset of rash.

According to VCH, people born between 1970 and 1994, or who grew up outside of B.C., may have had only one dose of measles vaccine and need a second dose to be fully protected.

It says those born after 1970 who are not fully immunized with two doses of a measles vaccine and who have not had measles disease in the past should receive a dose of measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

The vaccine is available for free at local community health centres or Vancouver's City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre. Family doctors and pharmacist (for adults and kids over five) may also have the vaccine available.

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