Two measles vaccination clinics have been set up for the Agassiz area this week, following an outbreak of the preventable illness in the area.
The clinics are for children under age five who require the measles vaccine, and are by appointment only.
The clinics are being held Tuesday, Mar. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Thursday, Mar. 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Agassiz Public Health Unit.
For a vaccine for anyone over the age of five, Fraser Health advises calling a family doctor or pharmacist.
The outbreak of measles that originated with the Mt. Cheam Christian School has now also spread to the Burnaby campus of BCIT. A student attended classes there on March 6 and 7 who may have spread the illness to others. The student’s classes were in Building NE1.
One of the difficulties in containing the spread of measles is that carriers are spreading the disease before they start showing symptoms.
Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, and red and inflamed eyes (often sensitive to light). These are followed 3-7 days later by a rash, which starts first on the face and neck, and spreads to the chest, arms and legs, and lasts at least 3 days. You may also notice spots inside your mouth that look like small grains of sand on a red base.
Measles is a severe illness caused by the measles virus. Measles spreads easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. The measles virus can survive in small droplets in the air for several hours. The airborne spread of measles virus makes the disease very contagious.
People with symptoms of measles are asked to isolate themselves at home. Anyone that is seriously ill is asked to contact their doctor, public health unit, or emergency department prior to arriving in order to prevent the spread of the disease to other vulnerable patients.
“Measles is a very contagious disease. Those who aren’t vaccinated can spread the disease quickly. If you are showing measles-like symptoms, stay home and call your doctor or 811,” said Dr. Paul Van Buynder, Chief Medical Health Officer with Fraser Health.
To contact the Agassiz Public Health Unit, phone 604-793-7160.