While the six measles case reported on Vancouver Island were all in the Victoria area, our local Medical Health Officer wouldn’t be surprised if cases popped up on other parts of the island.
Usually, measles cases come on the heels of trips to other countries, but in 2019 that’s not the case and that is raising concern about this extremely contagious disease locally.
There is an ongoing debate between those who get vaccinated and those from the anti-vaccination movement, but Medical Health Officer Shannon Waters said some people who have one shot of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination will get measles.
“The majority of people on Vancouver Island are vaccinated, undoubtedly, some of the infections are going to be in people who are vaccinated and it’s just part of the nature of vaccination, some people don’t mount the response,” said Waters. “You will have some cases in people who are vaccinated, so it’s not unexpected and this is a very effective vaccination, which is the best prevention.”
The first two confirmed measles cases of 2019 were found in two people who had returned from Vietnam, where the disease is active and both had received one shot of the measles, mumps, and rubella immunization.
Waters said, “Island Health is encouraging everyone born after 1970 to ensure that they’ve received two doses of the measles vaccine. Up until about 1994, there wasn’t a booster program for that second dose, so individuals born between 1970 and 1994 are eligible for a second booster
The best protection against measles is to receive both MMR shots and children can get their first shot on their first birthday and the booster when they enter Kindergarten.
Adults can be immunized at a pharmacy, by their family doctor, or at a public health clinic like Margaret Moss in Duncan.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said the disease is active in Southeast Asia and the Phillippines and if you’re travelling abroad, you need to check to see how active measles is.