SURREY/VANCOUVER – A case of measles infection has been identified in the Lower Mainland. Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health have determined that the infection was acquired abroad.
The individual used public transportation while they were infectious. Public Health officials from both health authorities are alerting those who used the following services and locations on March 27, 2019 that they may have been exposed:
The 323 bus between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m.
The Expo line between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m.
Lobby and elevators at 666 Burrard Street in Vancouver and the Ascenda School of Management, at the same location, between 8:55 a.m. and 2:05 p.m.
If you were in these locations during the exposure period and you develop early symptoms of measles, please call your doctor's office first and tell them that you think you may have measles so they can book you in at a time that will ensure you don't expose others. This will allow your doctor to take precautions to protect other patients.
This will bring the total number of measles infection cases in B.C. to 22 this year.
Since mid-February of this year, Fraser Health has doubled the number of MMR/MMRV vaccines administered by our Public Health units to 5,768 compared to 2,882 over the same period in 2018.
We have also increased the number of measles containing vaccine clinics offered by public health by 300 per cent over the same time period. We have offered 309 clinics this year versus 74 in 2018.
We are moving forward with the measles catch-up campaign announced last month by the Ministry of Health. The records for school-aged kids continue to be reviewed, and those that are not up-to-date are being contacted with information about when and where they can get their measles containing vaccine. The first set of letters with this information were sent today. We are also working closely with pharmacies and community health care providers to support us in this work.
During February 2019, Vancouver Coastal Health ordered 16,600 vaccines compared to 2,030 in February 2018.
We have offered additional immunization clinics, identified locations with guaranteed vaccine and pointed people to those locations (pharmacies and medical clinics) particularly on weekends.
We are launching the measles catch-up campaign by offering in-school immunization clinics to grades K-12 with emphasis on second dose of measles for kindergarten, grades 1 and 2.
We are also planning enhanced clinics (increased hours and weekends) at community health centres and public-health units.
Measles is a highly infectious disease that spreads through the air. Close contact is not needed for transmission. The disease can also be spread through sharing food, drinks, cigarettes, or kissing an infected person.
Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest. Complications from measles can include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), convulsions (seizures), deafness, brain damage, and death. An infected person can spread measles before knowing they have been infected. People are infectious to others from four days before to four days after the onset of rash.
Those who are born after 1970 and have never had the measles infection, or who did not have two doses of vaccine, are at highest risk of measles, and we encourage them to get fully immunized. Measles immunization is free for those deemed susceptible. You can get the vaccine at your family doctor, local walk-in clinic, or Urgent Primary Care Centre. Your pharmacist (for adults and kids over five) may also have the vaccine available.
For more information on measles visit Fraser Health's website or Vancouver Coastal Health's website.
Tasleem Juma, Senior Consultant, Public Affairs
Fraser Health Media Line: (604) 613 - 0794
Tiffany Akins, Communications Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health