Measles is a highly infectious virus that is easily spread through the air. While a large majority of people living in BC are vaccinated for the virus, it can still be found in cases of modern medicine. This year, BC has already had two confirmed cases of measles with the most recent one being confirmed by Vancouver Coastal Health this weekend.
According to Shaf Hussain, a spokesperson from Vancouver Coastal Health, there has been a confirmed case of measles in the Vancouver area. In order to ensure the safety and health of everyone, local physicians have been sent an alert to keep their eyes open for any future cases.
This alert was only sent to physicians and workers in the medical field and not the general public. Hussain has told Narcity that the alert was sent to physicians to ensure they stay “vigilant in treating patients who may show symptoms.”
Hussain could not release how infectious this individual was, however, he did believe that the patient was at low risk. It has also been confirmed that the patient has been receiving care.
Due to the intricacy and confidentiality of the matter, it is difficult to tell how the individual contacted the virus as well as how may many people may have been impacted as a result. “The infection period is looking at the rash. Four days before the rash and four days after the rash appears is when the person is most infectious,” said Hussain.
Since the beginning of 2019, there have been two confirmed cases of measles in BC. The BC Centre for Disease Control has stated that the first reported case was in an adult traveler who was returning from the Philippines. Last year, there was a total of six confirmed cases of measles reported among BC residents. Of those cases, two were acquired during travel out of Canada, including India and the Philippines respectively. The other four were acquired from “imported cases.”
The measles virus is highly infectious and you do not have to be in close contact with someone who is infected to contract it. According to Vancouver Coastal Health, you could spend only minutes in the same room with someone and contract the virus. Although most people born in or after 1994 have been vaccinated, there are still some who have not. Anyone who is updated with their measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) should be protected against measles.
Symptoms of this virus include fever, red eyes which are sensitive to light, cough, runny nose, and of course, a rash. If you believe you may have contracted the virus, it is best to see a doctor immediately. It is also very important to keep yourself away from others as you run the risk of spreading infection. Most people will recover within a week or two of contacting the virus.
For more information on measles and the signs and symptoms, visit the Vancouver Coastal Health website.