Measles alert for Vancouver public transit users, Skookum attendees, and more

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      Anyone who attended several local events, used public transit, or ate at a Mount Pleasant restaurant this past weekend, and is not immune to measles should take note.

      Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) issued a warning on September 13 that an individual in Vancouver has been confirmed with the measles, and may have exposed others to the virus from September 8 to 11.

      As measles is a highly infectious disease spread by air, anyone who is not fully immunized with two doses of the measles vaccine (such as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine or MMR) or who has never had the disease is at risk of contracting it.

      Anyone who may have been exposed and is not immune to measles should contact a doctor immediately and get immunized within six days of exposure to prevent contraction of the disease.

      The following list details the locations and times where potential exposure may have occurred:

      • Saturday, September 8: Aquabus from Olympic Village to Hornby Street, approximate start time was 3 p.m.
      • Saturday, September. 8: Skookum Festival, Stanley Park, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
      • Saturday, September. 8: Canada Line SkyTrain from Vancouver City Centre to Broadway-City Hall Station, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
      • Sunday, September 9: Outdoor Community Block Party at 1188 Quebec Street, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
      • Sunday, September 9: Main Street bus from Terminal Station to Broadway, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
      • Tuesday, September 11: Noodlebox Mount Pleasant (2511 Main Street), noon to 6 p.m.

      In a news release, VCH explained that those born before January 1, 1970 are likely to be immune but those who were born between 1970 and 1994, or who grew up outside of B.C., may have only received one dose of the MMR vaccine and require a second dose for full protection.

      The vaccine is available for free from doctors, pharmacists, or community health centres.

      Infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and people with immune issues should not get the MMR vaccine and should instead contact their doctor or call VCH Public Health at 604-675-3900.

      Anyone who may have contracted measles from this exposure on the dates listed above would begin developing these symptoms between September 15 and 29. Measles symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed days later by a rash that begins on the face and spreads to the chest. Complications can include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), convulsions (seizures), deafness, brain damage, and death. Infants under one year of age and adults who have other health concerns may have more severe complications.

      People who develop these symptoms should call their doctor’s office before going so precautions can be taken to protect other patients.

      Those with symptoms should also report their illness to VCH Public Health.

      More information is available at the VCH webpage.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook