A public health alert has been issued by Fraser Health after an infectious person with a confirmed case of measles was reported to have travelled from Tsawwassen to Mayne Island on a B.C. ferry at the end of August.
According to Fraser Health, the person was on the BC Ferries 7 p.m. sailing from Tsawwassen to Mayne Island on Aug. 31. The health authority said the case of measles was infectious on the voyage, which potentially exposed other passengers to the measles.
Island Health is also warning that the same person reportedly visited the Saturna Lighthouse Pub on Saturna Island on Monday, Sept. 3, between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The case is also related to the alert issuing a warning to students and staff at Maple Ridge Secondary School who may have been exposed to a case of measles on Sept. 4, Fraser Health said.
The incubation period (time to develop symptoms after being exposed) is around 10 days but it can range from 7 to 21 days, which would be from Sept. 7 to 21. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed by a rash that starts centrally including on the face and spreads to the limbs and lasts at least three days. Measles can also be a serious infection with more severe illness. Complications can include, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), convulsions, deafness, or brain damage. In Canada, death is fairly rare, estimated in the range of one for every 500-3,000 cases.
“If you travelled on this ferry during this time period, check your immunization status. You are most at risk of measles infection if you are completely unvaccinated against measles,” Fraser Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler said in a release.
“If you develop any of the symptoms and have a fever, call your doctor and inform them that you may have been exposed to measles. They will arrange to see you in a manner that avoids infecting other patients in the waiting room.”
Infants under the age of one who have never had measles and adults who have other health concerns are also at risk. Fraser Health said those born in 1970 or later should have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine (often given as combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine or MMR). Those born before 1970 are likely to be immune to measles through a prior measles infection.
Fraser Health said those unsure about their immunization status should consult their doctor or a local public health unit. Those born in 1970 or later who have not had two doses of measles-containing vaccine can also contact a doctor or pharmacist.