WATCH: Third case of measles in Greater Victoria has Island Health warning people may be at risk and not even know it. Tess van Straaten reports.
Shoppers at Fairway Market in Brentwood Bay are shocked to learn people at the store over the weekend may have been exposed to the highly-contagious measles virus.
“It is a big concern because we have five grandchildren in this area,” says a grandmother with her infant grandchild.
“I am concerned,” adds another woman. “Especially for the young kids and children if they’re not vaccinated.”
This latest confirmed case of measles is the third for Greater Victoria and part of a significant outbreak in British Columbia that’s seen 23 people get sick.
“I think it’s a reflection of what we’re seeing globally,” says Dr. Dee Hoyano Island Health. “We know there’s an increase in measles activity around the world. But obviously, it’s something we don’t want to see.”
Island Health says the new case doesn’t appear to be related to two previous, travel-related ones.
As they try to determine the source, officials are warning people who were at the Brentwood Fairways as well as the Beacon Community Services Thrift Store on West Saanich Road between noon and 3 p.m. Saturday, March 30th could be at risk.
“This is not something we normally have to deal with at our thrift stores,” says Kerry Readshaw of Beacon Community Services. “We’ve notified our volunteers and staff who may have been in the shop that day and posted notices on site so people can take any precautions that are necessary,” explains
Island Health isn’t sure how many people may have been exposed but they’re urging anyone who either hasn’t been vaccinated or who was born after 1970 and has only had one does of the MMR vaccine to get immunized.
“If you’re born before 1970, we consider you’re most likely immune and you most likely don’t need to be vaccinated for measles because you’ve been exposed,” Dr. Hoyano says.
But people born after that, and before the 90’s when the vaccine schedule changed to two doses, should check their health records.
Island Health says two doses of measles vaccine are 99 per cent effective at preventing measles.
Free shots are available through your local health unit, doctor, and many pharmacists.
Anyone who may have been exposed can call the Saanich Health Unit at 250-519-5100 to find out where to get vaccinated this week since it’s been less than six days since exposure.
More information is available from Island Health’s measles information lines:
South Island: 250-544-7676 ext. 27545
Courtenay/Comox Valley: 250-331-8599
Campbell River and area: 250-850-2120
Mt. Waddington/Port Hardy: 250-902-6079