Health officials issue public alert for measles on recent BC Ferries sailing

Sep 7 2018, 8:05 pm

Health officials with Fraser Health are warning any passengers who were on the 7 pm BC Ferries sailing from Tsawwassen to Mayne Island on Friday, August 31, of a possible exposure to measles.

“A case of measles has been confirmed aboard this vessel,” said Fraser Health in a release. “The case was infectious on the voyage, potentially exposing other passengers to measles. Measles is a highly infectious disease and unimmunized people are at risk.”

In addition, Island Health is warning that this same traveller is believed to have visited the Saturna Lighthouse Pub on Saturna Island, on Monday, September 3rd, between 5:30 pm and 7 pm.

“If you travelled on this ferry during this time period, check your immunization status,” said Fraser Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler. “You are most at risk of measles infection if you are completely unvaccinated against measles.”

Health officials say the case is related to a measles advisory that has been issued for a Maple Ridge high school.

“If you develop any of the symptoms and have a fever, call your doctor and inform them that you may have been exposed to measles,” said Tyler. “They will arrange to see you in a manner that avoids infecting other patients in the waiting room.”

The incubation period (time to develop symptoms after being exposed) for measles is about 10 days but can range from seven to 21 days.

Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed by a rash that starts centrally including on the face and spreads to the limbs and lasts at least three days. Measles can also be a serious infection with more severe illness.

Also at risk are infants under one-year-old who have never had the measles. If you were born in 1970 and later, to be protected against measles you should have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine (often given as combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine or MMR). Those born prior to 1970 are likely to be immune to measles through a prior measles infection.

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