[UPDATED] Measles outbreak lands in Burnaby

Fraser Health says BCIT students are at low risk despite close brush with infected student

The measles outbreak from Chilliwack has hit Burnaby at the BCIT campus, the Fraser Health Authority has confirmed.

An infected student was at the local BCIT campus on March 6 and 7, which is related to the original outbreak in Chilliwack. Fraser Health is dealing with 80 to 100 cases of measles in the Fraser East sector, such as Agassiz, Hope and Chilliwack.

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“The risk to the general BCIT student population is low, as most of the population are in the age group that would have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine,” Nafisa Abdulla, senior consultant of public affairs, told the NOW. “At this point, there has been no significant spread of measles outside of the Fraser Valley East communities.”

If someone has had both vaccines they do not need any further vaccination, she added.

"Measles is a very contagious disease," said Dr. Paul Van Buynder, chief medical health officer with Fraser Health, in a media release. "Those who aren't vaccinated can spread the disease quickly."

Red measles is a severe and contagious illness that spreads quickly through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The virus can also survive in small droplets in the in the air for several hours.

"If you are showing measles-like symptoms, stay home and call your doctor or 811," Van Buynder said.

Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red and inflamed eyes, which are often sensitive to light. A rash follows this about three to seven days later. It starts on the face and neck, spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and can last at least three days. Spots inside the mouth may form, as well, which look like small grains of sand on a red base.

Fraser Health is working with BCIT to alert students who may have come in contact with the infected student of possible exposure. Students who attended classes in building NE1 on March 6 or 7 can return to school by March 17 if they have had two documented doses of the MMR vaccine, if they are born before 1970 or have had measles in the past, according to the release.

The best protection against measles is two doses of the vaccine, which are available to the public through pharmacies, doctors or walk-in clinics.

The Fraser Health Authority is asking people with the symptoms to stay home, but those who are seriously ill are asked to contact their doctor, public health unit, or emergency department prior to arriving in order to prevent the spread.

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