June 05, 2014 - 9:30 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - If you haven’t had a measles shot yet, you better get on it. Recently, Interior Health confirmed a measles case in Alberta and are recommending everyone have up-to-date immunizations.
“So far in Interior Health we have only had one recent measles case, but that can change at any time especially with the increase in measles activity that we have seen in other parts of B.C. and Canada,” said Dr. Parker, Medical Health Officer. “Measles is a potentially severe illness caused by a virus and it is very contagious. The best way to prevent a measles outbreak here is by making sure our immunization rates are high.”
Anyone born after 1970 can only be protected through immunization. Children are recommended to get two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine at 12 months of age, and two when they begin kindergarten.
Interior Health say two doses is necessary, since those with one dose are not considered immune.
Measles spreads easily through the air and can be passed on to others by an infectious person for one to two days before symptoms develop and up to four days after rash onset, says Interior Health. 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 often lasts up to a week.
“When someone is experiencing measles symptoms, or if they have been in contact with someone who has measles, it is very important that they stay away from others to prevent spreading the disease,” added Dr. Parker. “If a person suspects they may have measles and they need to go to the hospital, emergency room or a doctor’s office, we advise them to call ahead first, so health-care staff can take measures to isolate the patient as they come in and avoid exposing others in waiting rooms to a potentially infectious disease.”
Immunization records can be checked at ImmunzeBC or your local health centre.
If you have any questions about measles, please call HealthLink BC by dialling 8-1-1. If you need to make an appointment for immunization, contact your local public health centre.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014