Interior Health on high alert for possible measles cases

No reports of the disease yet, but regular travel to the Coast could bring measles to the Interior

No cases of measles have been confirmed in Interior Health – so far.

Dr. Silvina Mema cautions that awareness of potential measles exposure cases is heightened due to the current situation on the B.C. Coast and in Washington State .

People travel to the Coast or the U.S. from the Interior every day.

“At any given time, Interior Health’s communicable disease unit does get reports of individuals who have potentially been exposed to measles due to travel to other parts of the country and world where measles may be present,” Mema says, pointing out the health authority has reports of a small number of individuals who may have been exposed to measles outside of IH. “Because the number is very small, I cannot speak to details for privacy reasons, but I can say that we would always monitor these cases closely and be in direct contact with those individuals.”

Mema says IH is urging all families to ensure immunizations are up to date and that two doses of the “highly effective and safe” MMR vaccine are the best protection against measles.

Related: Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Measles, also known as red measles, is a severe illness caused by the measles virus, says the Immunize BC website.

Measles can cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which can lead to seizures, deafness, or brain damage. One person in every 3,000 with measles may die from complications. Complications and death are most common in infants less than 12 months of age.

Complications of measles can include: ear infections (1 in 10 cases); diarrhea (8 in 100 cases); pneumonia (1 in 10 cases); hospital stay (1 to 2 in 10 cases) and encephalitis (1 in every 1,000 cases) that can lead to seizures, deafness or permanent brain damage. About one person in 3,000 with measles can die from complications.

Measles causes fever, rash, cold-like symptoms and red, inflamed eyes that can be sensitive to light. It is a very contagious disease and spreads easily. When an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes, the virus spreads through the air and can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours.

Related:Measles outbreak in Washington state spurs warning from BC Centre for Disease Control

Related: Philippines says 136 people have died in measles outbreak

Because of immunization, measles is now a rare disease in Canada. Most cases occur in unimmunized people, including visitors to Canada, who have travelled overseas.

Contact your local IH health unit if are unsure about your immunization status or to book an appointment to be immunized.

“If you feel you have been exposed to measles and have symptoms, call your doctor in advance of an appointment,” says Mema. “If you visit the emergency department, please put on a mask at arrival and immediately tell the triage staff that you think you may have measles so they can take precautions.”

Notifications to schools and specific communities would be part of a process if cases of measles are seen in IH.

“While we do not have a case at this time, we continue to monitor closely,” adds Mema.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Lake Country still investigating cause for water main break

Over 2,500 residences and businesses in Lake Country and Kelowna remain under boil water notice

Housing provided for women and children fleeing violence in Penticton

Announcement on Friday is part of a provincewide initiative to construct additional housing.

Kelowna RCMP raid home on Lawson Avenue

RCMP, Emergency Response Team execute search warrant, one man arrested

Friend of accused Kelowna murderer takes the stand

Elrich Dyck’s testimony continued Friday with details from the night Chris Ausman was killed

Developer breaks ground on downtown Kelowna rental housing project

Apartments at 726 Clement Ave. are projected to cost $1,300 per month or $1,780 per month

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Sit-in on Saturday will protest move to curb loitering in Penticton’s downtown

Nanaimo Square Sit-In is taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Crews respond to smoke at Penticton thrift store

The rooftop A/C unit began filling the building with smoke, prompting them to evacuate

People’s Party of Canada leader talks B.C. trade to Penticton supporters

Maxime Bernier, head of the new federal political party, spoke at Time Winery on Friday

Princeton RCMP recover stolen homework and save the grade

It’s a slightly better excuse than “the dog ate my homework.” Earlier… Continue reading

New Summerland distillery has received recognition

Alchemist Distiller won audience choice award at recent competition

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

Most Read