Due to a measles outbreak in Washington State, the FNHA would like to provide some information about Measles for First Nations Communities in British Columbia.
On January 25th, the state of Washington declared a State of Emergency related to a measles outbreak in Clark County, WA, just north of Portland, Oregon. There has also been one case in Oregon which is linked to the Washington outbreak.
There have been no reported Measles cases in BC that are related to the outbreak in Washington State. However, those who visit affected areas may be at risk of exposure. Measles can be spread to others before symptoms such as fever and rash appear. Unimmunized individuals, including children too young to be vaccinated (under 12 months of age) and people who cannot be immunized due to immunocompromise from disease or medication, are most at risk of developing Measles if exposed.
Measles is extremely contagious, and is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It is so contagious that a person can get measles simply by entering a room where a person with Measles sneezed or coughed up to two hours prior. Measles is a serious disease that can lead to life-long brain damage and death.
The best way to prevent Measles is immunization with TWO doses of MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine. Please check your Immunization Records and/or contact your health care provider to ensure that you and your family are up-to-date with your immunizations.
• British Columbia children are immunized against Measles at their first birthday, with a second dose given between 4-6 years of age.• The following should have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine:
• British Columbia children are immunized against Measles at their first birthday, with a second dose given between 4-6 years of age.
• The following should have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine:
o All school-age children, university students and those traveling out of the country and born on or after January 1, 1970
o Health-care workers born on or after January 1, 1957
• If you don't have a record of your Measles vaccinations you should contact your health care provider.
Two doses of measles-containing vaccine is 98% effective against contracting Measles. The vaccine is safe. More information about the MMR vaccine can be found here: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/measles-mumps-rubella-vaccine
The symptoms of measles are fever, red, watery eyes, which may be sensitive to light, cough, runny nose, and a rash. If you think you might have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms of Measles, please call your Community Health Nurse, health care provider, local health unit or the BC Nurseline at #8-1-1. Calling your health care provider prior to attending a clinic allows them to help you quickly and reduces the risk of you transmitting measles to someone else.
More information about Measles can be found here on HealthLinkBC: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/measles.
For more information, please see the BC Centre for Disease Control's statement found here: http://www.bccdc.ca/about/news-stories/news-releases/2018/information-for-b-c-residents-about-measles-outbreak-in-washington-state
Don't know where your nearest Public Health Unit is located?
Public Health Unit Finder: http://www.immunizebc.ca/finder
Click on www.HealthLinkBC.ca or call 8-1-1 for non-emergency health information and services in BC.
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