Recent travellers at YVR may have been exposed to measles: health officials

Jul 26 2019, 11:42 pm

Travellers are being alerted about a potential exposure to measles aboard a flight from the Philippines on July 23, 2019.

The ill passenger was aboard the flight and at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) at the date and times below:

Philippines Airlines flight PR 116

  • Departing Manila, Philippines on July 23, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. local time in Manila
  • Arriving at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) Airport, Vancouver on Tuesday July 23, 2019 at 4:38 p.m. local time in Vancouver

Passengers and flight crew on the above flight, or at YVR including in the international arrivals area, customs and immigration, and baggage check may have been exposed to measles, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Measles is a highly infectious disease transmitted by airborne spread. Passengers, crew and travelers who may have come into contact with this case of measles are asked to be aware of this potential exposure should they develop symptoms compatible with measles.

Most travellers will be immune to measles due to prior immunization, with older travellers immune from having had measles as a child, according to health officials.

Those most likely to develop measles after exposure are infants less than one year old who have not been vaccinated, or others who have never been immunized against measles.

If you become ill and suspect you may have measles from this or another exposure such as traveling overseas to the many parts of the world where measles occurs frequently, call your doctor and inform them that you may have measles, so that they can arrange to see you in a manner that avoids infecting others in the waiting room.

You can also call your local health unit and ask for the communicable disease nurse.

To find a public health unit anywhere in the province, use the locator on ImmunizeBC.ca

Symptoms of measles include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
    Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Rash that starts centrally including on the face, spreads to the limbs and lasts at least three days

Non-immune exposed individuals can become infected by being in the same airspace as a measles case. If infected, they will develop symptoms within 7 to 21 days of being exposed.

Those who are concerned about their potential measles exposure but have no symptoms can call 8-1-1 and speak to a nurse.

Individuals most at risk from measles are those who are completely unvaccinated against the disease including babies under one year of age. Individuals born after 1970 should have received two doses of a measles vaccine (often given as combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR) to be protected.

Those who were born prior to 1970 are likely to be immune due to prior measles infection.

The BCCDC advises British Columbians to review their immunization status prior to travel. Measles has been on the rise for several years worldwide including several countries in Europe and Southeast Asia, which are common travel destinations for British Columbians.

The best time to protect yourself, officials add, is before you travel.