People who travelled through the Vancouver International Airport last Thursday are being warned they may have been exposed to measles.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control released a bulletin Wednesday, saying a passenger with measles was in the airport on Nov. 23.
“At YVR, the passenger spent time on the route between the arrival gate D73 at the international terminal and at the departure gate C48 in the domestic terminal, where the ill passenger waited for their next flight,” the BCCDC said.
The passenger was also aboard the following flights in and out of YVR.
- Air Canada Flight 79 departed from Dubai, United Arab Emirates at 2:17 AM local time and arrived in Vancouver at 6:07 AM Pacific Time
- Air Canada flight 206 departed from Vancouver at 10:36 AM Pacific Time and arrived in Calgary, Alberta at 1:06 PM Mountain Time
The passenger later tested positive for measles in Alberta.
Measles is a highly infectious disease that can be spread by airborne transmission.
The BCCDC said many people are immune due to vaccination or having contracted it as a child. People who are unvaccinated, including children under the age of one, are at highest risk.
Anyone who was on one of the two flights and was travelling with an unvaccinated infant or who are immunocompromised and not immune to the virus should contact their local public health unit immediately to get post-exposure treatment to minimize risk.
The BCCDC said Wednesday was the last day to receive post-exposure prophylaxis with immunoglobulin to minimize the risk of measles developing.
People who aren’t immune and were exposed could become infected, the BCCDC said, with symptoms developing within seven and 21 days of exposure — in this case, meaning between Nov. 30 and Dec. 14.
Symptoms include a fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes or a rash on the face and neck, spreading to the chest, arms and legs.
Anyone who suspects they have measles should call their doctor or clinic before going in to ensure they don’t expose anyone in the waiting room.
A report from the World Health Organization and U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month found measles deaths had spiked globally by 40 per cent last year and cases rose after vaccinations fell to their lowest levels in 15 years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The highly infectious disease triggered epidemics in 37 countries last year, versus 22 countries in 2021. It sickened nine million children and killed 136,00, mostly in poorer countries.
— With files from the Associated Press.
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