Measles unlikely to spread but everyone should be vaccinated: Vancouver doctor

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VANCOUVER - A medical health officer in Vancouver says measles is not expected to spread beyond a cluster of patients but anyone travelling to other parts of the world should ensure they are vaccinated against the contagious disease.

Dr. Reka Gustafson of Vancouver Coastal Health says people often go to a travel clinic before a trip to get protection against diseases that don't circulate locally and it's a good opportunity to ensure all childhood vaccinations are up to date.

She says most people in B.C. are vaccinated and older adults may already have had measles but anyone born after 1970 should ensure they have two doses of a vaccine, which is routinely given to children at age one and then between the ages of four and six.

Two new cases were reported in the province Sunday, bringing the total to 13, with most of them linked to two French-language schools after an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a trip to Vietnam.

Gustafson says it took a week to get all the students' immunization records and improvements are needed to ensure a quicker system limits disruption to families as well as use of health-care resources.

Symptoms of measles include a runny nose, cough, fever, red, itchy eyes and sometimes a rash, and Gustafson says parents who suspect their child has the disease should call their doctor's office in advance in order to get a separate room.


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