Measles outbreak hits B.C. Lower Mainland, but overall risk called “very low”

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      An outbreak of the measles has struck the Lower Mainland, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

      The provincial agency said in a health alert today (March 30) that 10 laboratory-confirmed and four suspected cases of measles have been identified in the region over the past two weeks.

      It called the overall risk for the general population “very low”.

      Eight of the 14 cases have been linked to a household with unvaccinated members.

      “None of the cases identified to date had two doses of measles vaccine, which is needed for full protection,” the BCCDC stated. “Many were unimmunized because of philosophical objections, and some had a history of only receiving a single dose of measles vaccine or did not know their immunization status.”

      The BCCDC said that two separate strains of the virus have been identified.

      The agency suspects at least two out-of-country visitors brought the virus into Vancouver in February or early March.

      For those unfamiliar with the measles, here’s how the BCCDC describes the disease: “Measles is a highly contagious viral illness spread through airborne contact with the virus. The illness begins with a fever, runny nose and cough. Several days later, a rash appears around the face and then spreads to the chest and limbs. The eyes may be red and very sensitive to light.”

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