Share

South Island measles exposures confirmed

March 29, 2019

Victoria, BC - Two cases of measles infection have been reported to Island Health. Both people acquired the infection while traveling abroad. Both people sought care in the South Island.

“Based upon clinical management and prior immunization, we want to assure people that risk of transmission is extremely low,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer. 

People who were at the following locations on the dates and times listed may have been exposed to measles:

Date

Time

Location

March 6, 2019

0500-1230

Royal Jubilee Hospital, Emergency Department

March 8, 2019

0700-1030

Royal Jubilee Hospital, Outpatient clinic

March 9, 2019

2036-2330

Royal Jubilee Hospital, Emergency Department

Island Health is asking people who may have been exposed to measles to monitor for symptoms for 21 days after the exposure date. Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.

If you develop symptoms, please contact your health care provider before you visit them so they can take precautions to prevent transmission of measles to others. Those who never had the measles infection, or who did not have two doses of vaccine, are at highest risk of measles, and we encourage them to get fully immunized. Measles immunization is free for everyone.

Please also call our measles information line to learn more:  

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

People who are at high risk of severe illness for measles infection (pregnant women, immune compromised, and those under one year of age) can also get a medicine called immune globulin that reduces the risk of severe illness if given within six days of exposure. Measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine given within three to six days of exposure also provides some protection.

Two doses of measles vaccine are 99 per cent effective at preventing measles. One dose of vaccine is 95 per cent effective. Rarely, those who are fully immunized can get measles but they often have milder illness, and are less infectious to others.

Free vaccine is available is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists. All Health Units in Island Health are currently offering additional booked school age immunization appointments. These clinics are scheduled during regular clinic hours, after hours and Saturdays.

South Island, Duncan, Nanaimo and Salt Spring Public Health Units are unable to immunize clients aged 19 and older, please contact your local pharmacy, family doctor or travel clinic. Pharmacists can immunize adults and children over five years old. Please call ahead to ensure vaccine is available.

In the past 4 weeks Island Health has administered a total of 2,966 measles vaccinations which is more than double than the previous year. In addition to this, Island Health is offering to catch up all vaccines that the client is behind on at the appointment. Public Health continues to offer extra clinics to meet increased requests for immunization appointments.

For general information about measles visit the Island Health website: https://www.islandhealth.ca

Please click here for Frequently Asked Questions.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY:

Dr. Stanwick will respond to media inquiries March 29 at 10:45 a.m. at the Fort Royal Medical Building, Room 425, 1900 Richmond Ave, Victoria.

Media Inquiries
Cheryl Bloxham
Media Relations
250-370-8878
Cheryl.Bloxham@viha.ca