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Measles confirmed on southern Vancouver Island

VICTORIA, B.C- Measles has arrived on Vancouver Island.

According to Island Health, two cases of measles infection have been reported to the agency. Both people were infected while travelling abroad, and both sought care in the South Island.

“Based upon clinical management and prior immunization, we want to assure people that risk of transmission is extremely low,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer.

People who were at the following locations on the dates and times listed may have been exposed to measles.

Date Time Location
March 6, 2019 0500-1230 Royal Jubilee Hospital, Emergency Department
March 8, 2019 0700-1030 Royal Jubilee Hospital, Outpatient clinic
March 9, 2019 2036-2330 Royal Jubilee Hospital, Emergency Department


Island Health is now asking people who may have been exposed to measles to monitor for symptoms for 21 days after the exposure date.

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Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.

If you develop symptoms, please contact your health care provider before you visit them so they can take precautions to prevent transmission of measles to others.

Those who never had the measles infection, or who did not have two doses of vaccine, are at highest risk of measles, and we encourage them to get fully immunized. Measles immunization is free for everyone.

The health authourity had the following measles information line to learn more:

South Island: 250-544-7676 ext. 27545

Nanaimo/Ladysmith/Gabriola: 250-755-3388

Courtenay/Comox Valley: 250-331-8599

Campbell River and area: 250-850-2120

Mt. Waddington/Port Hardy: 250-902-607


People who are at high risk of severe illness for measles infection (pregnant women, immune compromised, and those under one year of age) can also get a medicine called immune globulin that reduces the risk of severe illness if given within six days of exposure. Measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine given within three to six days of exposure also provides some protection.

Two doses of measles vaccine are 99 per cent effective at preventing measles. One dose of vaccine is 95 per cent effective. Rarely, those who are fully immunized can get measles but they often have milder illness, and are less infectious to others.

Free vaccine is available is available from your local health unit, family doctor, and many pharmacists. All Health Units in Island Health are currently offering additional booked school age immunization appointments. These clinics are scheduled during regular clinic hours, after hours and Saturdays.

South Island, Duncan, Nanaimo and Salt Spring Public Health Units are unable to immunize clients aged 19 and older, please contact your local pharmacy, family doctor or travel clinic. Pharmacists can immunize adults and children over five years old. Please call ahead to ensure vaccine is available.

In the past four weeks Island Health has administered a total of 2,966 measles vaccinations which is more than double than the previous year. In addition to this, Island Health is offering to catch up all vaccines that the client is behind on at the appointment. Public Health continues to offer extra clinics to meet increased requests for immunization appointments.

There have been no reported cases in the North Island or Powell River areas.

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