'We are in the waiting game': Health officials say measles situation not over yet

Feb 20 2019, 12:33 am

Although they note that there have been no new measles cases reported since Friday, officials with Vancouver Coastal Health are advising people that the situation isn’t over yet.

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Althea Hayden said that a total of eight measles cases have now been confirmed at two French language schools in Vancouver: Ecole Secondaire Jules-Verne and Ecole Rose-Des-Vents.

And while Hayden said it’s good news that no new cases sprang up over the long weekend, she noted that the situation isn’t over yet.

“The last day where children were exposed is February 14,” she said. “This means that that the last day that illness could result is March 7, so right now, we are in the waiting game.”

In the meantime, 33 kids who weren’t able to provide proof they had been vaccinated against the measles have been ordered to stay home from school.

Symptoms of measles:

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes (often sensitive to light), typically starting seven to 14 days after exposure.

These are followed three to seven days later by a rash, which starts first on the face and neck, and spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts at least three days. You may also notice spots inside your mouth that look like small grains of sand on a red base.

  • Check your immunization records to make sure you and your children have had two doses of the measles vaccine (MMR or MMRV). Your immunization record or your doctor can provide you with this information. Adults 18 years of age and older, born in or after 1970 require two doses of measles vaccine; children 12 months to less than 18 years of age, health care workers and adults attending post-secondary institutions are required to have two doses; those born before 1970 are generally considered immune.
  • If your immunization record is not up-to-date, contact your local public health unit.
  • Infants under one year of age, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles and should contact their health care professional immediately for further assessment.
  • Watch for symptoms of measles until 21 days after exposure. These include a high fever, cold-like symptoms (cough/runny nose); sore eyes or sensitivity to light; small spots with a white centre on the inside of the mouth; and a red rash lasting four to seven days.

More to come…