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Published On: Sun, Sep 8th, 2013

British Columbia: Measles confirmed in four people, health officials urge vaccination

Fraser Health is warning all residents and health care professionals to be alert for measles after several individuals in the Fraser Health region were recently diagnosed with the disease.

According to health officials, there are currently four confirmed cases of measles in communities across Fraser Health (Burnaby, Surrey, Abbotsford and Chilliwack), and several more additional cases have symptoms consistent with measles.

Public domain image/John Fowler

Public domain image/John Fowler

Most of the cases have no known exposure to the virus and all the cases were either unimmunized, incompletely immunized, or did not know their immunization status.

This is prompting The Fraser Health Authority to urge people to ensure they are vaccinated.

Current guidelines for vaccination against measles are that people born after 1956 should have two doses of measles containing vaccine. The vaccine is available as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and usually given to children at 18 months and then at kindergarten entry – 4 to 6 years of age. Individuals are urged to contact their regular health care provider, their local health unit, or their pharmacist to receive the free vaccination.

Measles (rubeola) is an illness caused by the measles virus. Measles is very contagious and can be a severe illness in those lacking previous exposure to the disease or without adequate immunizations. Measles spreads easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The measles virus can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours.

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes (often sensitive to light). These are followed by a rash, which starts first on the face and neck, and spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts at least three days.

Among the most serious potential complications is brain inflammation (encephalitis), which occurs in approximately one in 1,000 cases. Other complications like pneumonia are common. Measles can cause brain damage, blindness, deafness and approximately one in 3,000 cases are fatal.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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