Measles outbreak unlikely after two people contracted disease: Island Health
Fears that two Vancouver Island measles patients had spread the sickness were calmed Monday.
Island Health says the window of infection following a public exposure to a seriously ill patient in early March has closed without any new illnesses reported.
"Not having seen any further cases that seem to be related to this exposure is reassuring," said Island Health’s Dr. Dee Hoyano. "The likelihood of having secondary cases is low now."
On Friday, health officials warned the public that a patient who had contracted measles attended the Royal Jubilee Hospital on three occasions in early March.
The second patient with measles was not deemed a risk of passing the disease as they attended a private doctors office, and were sent home immediately after receiving care.
Doctors now believe the likelihood of the public exposure resulting in a new case of the serious, and even deadly illness is nearly impossible.
According to experts, if a person is exposed to an infectious measles carrier they would show symptoms anywhere from 10 days to three weeks after the contact.
Island health says this window of infection has now closed. Both patients, who caught the measles while traveling in Vietnam, have made full recoveries.
Health officials initially identified 117 people who may have been at risk, but whittled that list down to around two-dozen people whose immunization statuses are unclear.
The authority contacted anyone it thought may have been put at risk.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick also said there were two people who came into "very close" contact with both of the measles patients who had been vaccinated for the disease, and neither became ill.
"I think that's probably the message to take away, that if you're immunized, that's your best protection," he said.
Island Health would not give details about the relationship of the infected patients, but did say they had received one of the two recommended measles vaccinations. A fact doctors say makes it much harder for them to pass the illness to others.
Across B.C., cases of measles have jumped significantly this year. According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control there have been 22 confirmed cases of the measles in 2019. In all of 2018 there were only nine confirmed cases.
The province has responded by launching a "catch-up" program to get students immunized who aren't already. It will run from April to June with vaccines being administered in health clinics and mobile units.
Provincial health officials recommend two doses of measles vaccine for children.