Health officials have confirmed eight cases of measles in Vancouver, calling it an outbreak.
The cases surround a French-language high school, Ecole Jules Verne Secondary, in Vancouver, said Dr. Althea Hayden, medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health, in an update late Friday.
“Cases are occurring in staff, students and family members affiliated with this school,” Hayden said. “We have determined that measles was brought into this community through travel outside of North America.”
People connected to two other schools, Anne-Hebert and Rose-Des-Vents elementaries, are among the eight cases.
These cases are not related to the first case reported in Vancouver, she said, from a man who had been travelling in the Philippines.
One person went to BC Children’s Hospital while they were infectious, Hayden said, and officials haven’t been able to notify everyone who may have been exposed.
You should contact your family doctor or Vancouver Coastal Health public health at 604-675-3900 if you were in that hospital’s emergency room at these times:
- January 21, 2019 – 10am to 6:10pm
- January 23, 2019 – 4:45pm to 11:10pm
- January 24, 2019 - 8:13am to 11:40am
- February 1, 2019 - 2:05pm to 6:55pm
An outbreak is defined as an increase in the number of cases officials expect to see at a certain time of year.
“The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to make sure their immunizations are up to date,” she said, adding that people with incomplete vaccines or no vaccines at all are at high risk.
Measles is highly contagious and spreads easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The virus can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours.
Symptoms include a fever, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes, which typically start appearing seven to 14 days after initial exposure. These are followed three to seven days later by a rash, which lasts at least three days.
A measles outbreak in Washington State and Oregon this winter has sickened 56 people so far.