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Archived - Statement from the Public Health Agency of Canada on Measles

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April 8, 2015

The Public Health Agency of Canada is again reminding Canadians of the importance of ensuring their immunizations are up to date, following the confirmation of additional cases of measles in the Vancouver region.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region has reported additional cases of measles linked to a March 21 Air China Flight from Beijing CA 991. The patients were either on the flight, or were in contact with someone on the plane. Additionally, a person diagnosed with measles over the weekend exposed people on Air China/Air Canada Flight #CA 991/AC 6601 arriving at Vancouver International Airport on Saturday, April 4.

Travelers on these flights are being advised to confirm they are fully immunized and, if not, to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Measles is highly contagious and can be a very serious illness. While most people fully recover from measles within 2 to 3 weeks, measles can sometimes cause serious health problems. These could include brain swelling (encephalitis) leading to seizures, hearing loss or even death. Since there is no cure, prevention is very important and the measles vaccine is known to be a safe and effective way to prevent measles.

Measles is relatively rare in Canada thanks to high immunization rates across the country. However, Canada will continue to see measles cases related to travel to countries where measles is endemic or there are large outbreaks.

Measles causes a red, blotchy rash that begins on the face and spreads down the body. Symptoms also include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • red, watery eyes

If you or a family member is showing the symptoms of measles, call a health care provider as soon as possible. Describe the symptoms over the phone before your appointment so that the clinic can arrange to see your family without exposing others to measles.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is closely monitoring the situation. The Agency conducts routine surveillance of measles cases across the country and works with provincial and territorial authorities to monitor measles cases in Canada. Additionally, the Agency has clinical guidance for health care professionals for the prevention and control of measles outbreaks in Canada. It is available on the Agency's website.

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Public Health Agency of Canada
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