New case of measles confirmed on Vancouver Island

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New case of measles confirmed on Vancouver Island
New case of measles confirmed on Vancouver Island

Doctors have confirmed another case of measles, this time on Vancouver Island.

Island Health is asking anyone who was at the Beacon Community Services Thrift Store at 7060 West Saanich Rd. or the Fairway Market at 7108 West Saanich Rd. in Brentwood Bay between noon and 3 p.m. on March 30 to check their immunization history.

“If you were at either of those locations during the specified times and you are unimmunized or incompletely immunized and it has been less than six days since this exposure, you can call the Saanich Health Unit at 250-519-5100 to find out where to get vaccinated this week.”

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This is the 23rd confirmed case of the measles in B.C. this year and the third on Vancouver Island.

Dr. Dee Hoyano with Island Health said it’s not yet clear how the person contracted the disease, except that it did not involve international travel.

Two measles cases were reported in the South Island last week. Both people became infected while travelling in Vietnam.

Anyone who may have been exposed in Saanich is being asked to monitor for symptoms for 21 days after the exposure date.

What is measles?

Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus. Once quite common, measles can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine.

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Also called rubeola, measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. While death rates have been falling worldwide as more children receive the measles vaccine, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year, most under the age of 5.

As a result of high vaccination rates in general, measles hasn’t been widespread in the United States for more than a decade. The United States averaged about 60 cases of measles a year from 2000 to 2010, but the average number of cases jumped to 205 a year in recent years. Most of these cases originate outside the country and occurred in people who were unvaccinated or who didn’t know whether or not they had been vaccinated.

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Symptoms

Measles signs and symptoms appear around 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Signs and symptoms of measles typically include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik’s spots
  • A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another

The infection occurs in sequential stages over a period of two to three weeks.

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