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Health officials confirm ‘several’ cases of measles at Vancouver schools

Click to play video 'Officials warn of ‘several’ measles cases at 2 Vancouver schools' Officials warn of ‘several’ measles cases at 2 Vancouver schools
A measles scare continues in Vancouver with new cases being reported in at least two local schools. Neetu Garcha reports – Feb 15, 2019

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has confirmed several additional cases of measles in the city, this time potentially affecting students at two schools.

In a letter to parents dated Feb. 14, Vancouver Coastal Health said that “several” measles cases had been identified at the French language high school École Jules‐Verne, and that a case of measles was being investigated at the French elementary school École Anne‐Hébert.

Three cases of measles have been confirmed by Vancouver Coastal Health, all involve students who attend the two schools.

WATCH: Online petition calls for mandatory vaccinations in schools

Click to play video 'Online petition calls for mandatory vaccinations in schools' Online petition calls for mandatory vaccinations in schools
Online petition calls for mandatory vaccinations in schools – Feb 14, 2019

VCH said students and staff at the latter school may have been exposed to the virus on Jan. 25. It is unclear when the cases at the high school were detected, and VCH was not immediately able to say how many cases were involved.

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READ MORE: Vancouver Coastal Health confirms city’s second measles case this month

Measles symptoms develop between seven to 21 days after exposure, an incubation period that has come and gone from the Jan. 25 incidence.

WATCH: (Aired Jan. 19, 2019) Measles outbreak leads to public health emergency

Click to play video 'Measles outbreak leads to public health emergency' Measles outbreak leads to public health emergency
Measles outbreak leads to public health emergency – Jan 19, 2019

“If you think you or your child may have had measles in the last three weeks, we are asking you to phone public health at 604‐675‐3900 to speak with a nurse,” the letter reads.

“This will allow us to determine if measles continues to circulate at École Anne‐Hébert.”

The notification comes just a day after VCH confirmed a second case of measles in the city, one that it said was contracted locally. A case diagnosed earlier in February was contracted abroad, according to VCH.

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On Friday, VCH said a third case was confirmed, and a suspected fourth case involving École Rose-Des-Vents is being investigated.

VCH says these cases are not related to outbreaks in the U.S. or Europe.

READ MORE: Health officials confirm measles case in Vancouver area

It also comes in the wake of a measles outbreak in the state of Washington in January that forced officials to declare a state of public health emergency.

The controversy over measles and immunization has prompted one Maple Ridge mother to start a petition calling for mandatory vaccinations for all students attending public school.

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can spread though the air. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red watery eyes. After several days, a red rash then develops, first on the face, and then on the body.

Most Canadians are immunized against the disease, and the vaccine is effective in 99 per cent of cases, VCH said. However, people who have had no dose or just one dose of the vaccine are vulnerable.