In order to be fully vaccinated, people need two doses of the MMR vaccine. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Matthew Lotz)

All measles cases in Vancouver outbreak came from abroad, officials says

Best defence against the measles is to get both MMR vaccines

All cases of measles reported in Vancouver over the past couple weeks have come from abroad, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.

Medical health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson said Monday the two new cases reported over the weekend had come from people travelling to countries where measles is active.

That mirrors how the outbreak in Vancouver started, when an unvaccinated child contracted the disease during a family trip to Vietnam.

There have been 12 people diagnosed with the disease.

Gustafson said she was not surprised the measles has spread so quickly among unvaccinated people, as it is so infectious.

Paradoxically, she said the success of immunization programs over time means many people have never encountered vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Because of this, the risk associated with them, the consequences of such infections are not known to people and so there may be less of an urgency paid to immunizations.

“People who were exposed in the previous exposure may not all have developed symptoms, so we may get additional cases,” she said, adding that does not mean the outbreak is continuing.

The best defence against the measles, Gustafson said, is to make sure you and your family have both doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines.

The vaccination rate in Vancouver Coastal Health’s region is 84 per cent.

READ MORE: 2 infected with measles after individual flew from Vancouver to Edmonton

READ MORE: No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

– with files from The Canadian Press


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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