IHA warns of suspected measles outbreak in Revelstoke

Interior Health is taking steps to alert the public about a suspected outbreak of measles in the Revelstoke area. Three probable cases and one confirmed case have been reported and all are believed to have contracted the virus in the Revelstoke area. Public health officials believe two of the probable cases attended classes at Revelstoke Secondary School during their infectious period.

Interior Health is making additional efforts to prevent the virus from spreading. Letters have been sent to those who may have been exposed at the school and additional vaccination clinics have been set up. Vaccines are available by calling the Revelstoke Health Clinic at 250-814-2244 for an appointment.

“Measles is a potentially severe illness caused by a virus and it is very contagious,” said Dr. Andrew Larder IH, Senior Medical Health Officer. “Measles spreads easily through the air and can be passed on to others by an infectious person for 1-2 days before any symptoms develop. The only protection against measles is vaccination.”

Vaccination against measles requires two doses of a measles vaccine (MMR). In BC, children routinely receive two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) at 12 and 18 months, unless families have chosen not to immunize. Those who have received only one dose are not considered to be immune. It is very important to verify that two doses of the vaccine have been received. This can be done by contacting your local Public Health Clinic or your family doctor.

If you or anyone in your family has not had two does of measles containing vaccine, please contact the Revelstoke Health Center (250-814-2244) to discuss immunization.The measles vaccine is free for everyone born in 1957 or later. Adults born before 1957 are considered to have natural immunity to measles.

“Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis).  These are followed by a rash, which starts first on the face and neck, spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts for at least three days,” says Dr Larder.  “It is very important that if you have a fever, cough, rash and red eyes to stay away from others to prevent spreading the disease.”

If you develop these symptoms call 1-866-778-7736 to talk to Interior Health staff or call HealthLink (dial 811) to discuss your symptoms. If you feel you need to go to hospital or a clinic, call ahead to avoid exposing others to a potentially infectious disease.

For more information:

Further information can be found at:  http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/kb/content/mini/hw198187.html#hw198189.