Interior Health Authority has seen an increase in measles immunization requests as well as immunization status requests since the outbreak in Vancouver last week.
According to IH communications officer Carl Hardt, IH has seen an increase by a few hundred calls from those requesting for more information about measles, immunization status and requesting an immunization since the outbreak in the Lower Mainland.
While a measles outbreak has not been reported in the Okanagan, a doctor said it’s a good opportunity to remind people about immunization.
Dr. Sylvina Mema, a medical health officer with Interior Health said the outbreaks in Vancouver and Washington State present a good opportunity to remind people about the need for immunization, not only for measles but other communicable diseases covered under the B.C. vaccination schedule.
The message IH wants to get out, she explained, is that the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against measles is to ensure vaccinations are up to date.
“We don’t want people here to panic. We want everybody to get up to date with their immunizations,” said Mema. “The outbreak in Vancouver, as far as we know, has been contained.”
It’s not uncommon to investigate people for measles, she said, especially people who have travelled to parts of the world where the disease is still endemic. But according to Interior Health records, there hasn’t been a case of measles in the IH region for eight years.
In 2010 there was an outbreak with 14 cases, and in 2011, there was another with seven cases.