Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is warning passengers on a flight from Beijing to Vancouver that they could be at risk of getting measles. An individual who was on Air China flight CA991 from Beijing arriving in Vancouver March 3rd at 9:30 a.m. developed symptoms of measles after their arrival. This person was infectious during the flight.
VCH Public Health is asking anyone who was on this flight, or who was in the international arrivals area at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) around 9:30 a.m. March 3rd, to make sure they are up to date with measles vaccinations. Those who are not fully immunized can get a vaccine for free at their doctor’s office, local Public Health unit or at a walk-in-clinic.
The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which most people in B.C. receive as a child, is safe and effective. Some young adults and those born outside Canada may not be completely immunized. People born before 1957 and those who have had measles disease are considered immune and do not need a vaccine. Those born between 1957 and 1970 should have one dose of vaccine if they have not had measles, and those born after 1970 should have two doses of vaccine.
Passengers should also watch for the following symptoms until March 24, 2016:
- runny nose
- conjunctivitis, or pink eye
- a red rash
Passengers who develop these symptoms should see a doctor. Please call your doctor’s office before you go, and tell them that you think you or your child may have measles. This will allow your doctor to take precautions to protect other patients. Please also call VCH Public Health at 604-675-3900 to report your illness.
Measles is highly infectious and spread through the air from someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. 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.
Cases of measles in international travellers remind us that all travellers should ensure they are up-to-date with all of their vaccinations. VCH operates travel clinics in Vancouver and Richmond; call 604-736-9244 for an appointment.
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.
Communications leader, Communications & Public Affairs
Vancouver Coastal Health