Vancouver, BC – Passengers on a second flight from Beijing to Vancouver may be at risk of contracting measles. A person diagnosed with measles over the weekend exposed people on Air China/Air Canada Flight #CA 991/AC 6601 arriving at Vancouver International Airport at 12:15 PM on Saturday, April 4.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is asking anyone who was on this flight and is not up to date with their immunizations, to get a measles vaccination as soon as possible. Measles vaccine is available from family doctors, public health units or walk-in clinics.
The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR, which most people in B.C. have received, is safe and effective. Some young adults and those born outside Canada may not be completely immunized against measles.
People born before 1957 are considered immune to measles, and do not need a vaccine. Those born between 1957 and 1970 should have one dose of MMR if they have not had measles, and those born after 1970 should have two doses of MMR. These vaccines must be received after their first birthday to be effective.
Passengers on this flight should also watch for these symptoms until April 25:
- runny nose
- conjunctivitis, or pink eye
- and a red rash.
Passengers who develop these symptoms should see a doctor, and call the doctor’s office before going, so precautions can be taken to protect other patients. Passengers with symptoms should also report their illness to VCH Public Health by calling 604-675-3900.
A total of nine people have contracted measles since the first case was identified; all people were either on the original Air China Flight on March 21, or were in contact with someone who had been on that flight.
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. VCH operates travel clinics in Vancouver and Richmond; call 604-736-9244 for an appointment.
Measles is highly infectious and spread through the air. Measles can be a serious illness with complications such as inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), convulsions, deafness, or brain damage. In Canada one person in every 3,000 with measles dies from their infection. Infants under one year of age and adults tend to have more severe illness than older children.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Tiffany Akins, Communications Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health