New case of measles on South Island prompts exposure alert
A new case of measles has been confirmed on southern Vancouver Island a week after Island Health said two people who travelled abroad had been infected with the highly contagious disease.
Island Health says it's now alerting people who may have been exposed to the latest measles patient at two locations on the Saanich Peninsula.
The first exposure may have occurred between noon and 3 p.m. on March 30 at the Beacon Community Services Thrift Store on West Saanich Road.
Another exposure may have occurred during the same time frame at Fairway Market on West Saanich Road.
Anyone who was at either location during the specified times and has not been immunized for measles is advised to call the Saanich Health Unit to find out where to get vaccinated.
"If you already have immunity to measles through previous vaccinations or based on your age, we're not asking you to do anything other than monitor yourself for signs and symptoms," said Island Health Medical Officer Dee Hoyano.
Those exposed to measles who have been experiencing symptoms like fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and red eyes followed by a rash that begins on the face and spreads to the chest are asked to contact their health care provider.
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.
It comes after two measles infections were confirmed on Vancouver Island in March. Both patients caught the measles while travelling in Vietnam, and have since made full recoveries. Island Health says the window of infection for those cases has closed, and the latest case does not appear to be linked.
The outbreak has put a spotlight on the so-called anti-vaxxer movement and prompted the province to move ahead with a plan to have all students provide proof of immunization in B.C. schools.
Island Health says in the last five weeks doctors have administered 3,474 measles vaccinations, more than double the number from 2018. The authority says two doses of measles vaccine is 99 per cent effective at preventing the disease.
Island Health says anyone who wants to learn more about immunization services in their area can call a local information line:
- South Island: 250-544-7676 ext. 27545
- Nanaimo/Ladysmith/Gabriola: 250-755-3388
- Courtenay/Comox Valley: 250-331-8599
- Campbell River and area: 250-850-2120
- Mt. Waddington/Port Hardy: 250-902-6079