Question: What do Disneyland (California), Toronto and Quebec have in common?
Answer: They are all experiencing a measles outbreak.
- To be fully protected against the measles, people should have two doses of the vaccine. In 1996, BC started routinely giving two doses to all infants at 12 months then again at 18 months or 4 years.
- If you were born between 1970-1996 there’s a chance you’ve only had one dose, and need one more dose still so that you are fully protected against the illness.
- People born prior to 1970 are considered immune to measles, mumps, and rubella.
- Anyone who has ever had the infection does not need to be immunized.
- Once you get two doses of the MMR vaccine, it is good for life.
People who are not immune to measles (those who have not been fully vaccinated or have not been infected with the disease) are at a higher risk of getting the measles. For example, travelling through international airports, including those in Canada, may increase your chance of exposure to the disease. If you are traveling, make sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date.
Measles is highly infectious and spread through the air when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. You don’t have to be in close contact with someone to contract the infection. You could spend just a few minutes in the same room as someone and get it, though, the closer the contact, the higher the risk. This virus can survive in closed areas (ie a bathroom) for up to two hours after an infected person with measles was there. So people who are in the same air space during this two hour period can become infected.
It is one of the leading causes of death in children worldwide.
Want more information?
For more information visit our measles
To book your vaccination contact the VCH Travel Clinic, a VCH Public Health Unit or your family doctor.