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Fraser Health continues to see the spread of measles in the Fraser East communities

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March 19, 2014

SURREY– Fraser Health advises that cases of measles continue to occur in the general Fraser East communities of Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz.

“The most recent cases occurred in a public school student and a worker in a community retail outlet thus exposing large numbers of the public during their infectious period,” said Dr. Paul Van Buynder, Chief Medical Health Officer with Fraser Health. “We are disappointed that people who are showing symptoms of measles are not isolating themselves as requested by Fraser Health and as a result other people in the community are being exposed to this infectious disease.”

Measles alerts have been sent to students living on campus at the University of the Fraser Valley, and to staff who worked at the Chilliwack Lions Club Music and Dance Festival.

“The best protection against measles infection remains two doses of measles vaccine. If you are not immunized, please talk to your doctor or visit an immunizing pharmacist. We strongly urge all people who are not vaccinated to get immunized,” said Dr. Van Buynder. In addition, contacts who have been asked to isolate themselves until after the possible infectious period, which is 21 days after exposure, are urged to do so and not place the vulnerable in the public at risk.

Children under the age of 5 years are most at risk of serious disease and need to obtain the vaccine from a general practitioner or a public health clinic. Information on vaccination clinics in Fraser East communities for children between the ages of 1 and 5 years is available at http://www.fraserhealth.ca/your_health/immunizations/measles/news-and-updates/

Anyone with two documented doses of MMR vaccine is considered protected. People born before January 1, 1970 are likely immune due to previous measles infection and no immunization is recommended. All individuals born on or after January 1, 1970 should receive 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine after 1 year of age.

Anyone that is seriously ill is asked to contact their doctor, public health unit, or emergency department prior to arriving in order to prevent the spread of the disease to other vulnerable patients.

For further information about measles, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT:
Fraser Health Media Pager: 604-450-7881
media@fraserhealth.ca
   
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