BRITISH COLUMBIA – A measles outbreak has Washington State under a state of emergency.
The Washington State Department of Health is urging residents and travellers to take precautions and get vaccinated.
A case has also been reported in Oregon.
According to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC), there haven’t been reports in the province related to the Washington measles outbreak. However, residents who travel to affected communities are at a higher risk of getting exposed to and contracting the infection.
The agency is advising British Columbians to review and update their immunization status, especially before travelling to affected areas. The infectious virus is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing.
Most individuals are expected to be immune to it, but children less than a year old or people who have never been immunized against the measles are also at a higher risk of contracting it.
The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The vaccine is available at local health providers, family doctors, and pharmacists.
BC typically sees a few cases of the measles each year, which usually occur in travellers who are not vaccinated against it. In 2018, six cases were reported. 2019 has seen one report so far of a traveller who contracted the infection after returning from the Philippines.