NEWS

BCIT student sick with measles from Fraser Valley outbreak

03/15/2014 02:57 EDT | Updated 05/15/2014 05:59 EDT
A college student who attends classes in Burnaby, B.C., has been diagnosed with a case of measles related to the recent Fraser Valley outbreak, in which roughly 100 cases of measles have been confirmed in Chilliwack and Agassiz.

Fraser Health said Saturday morning that the infected student was at the British Columbia Institute of Technology's Burnaby campus on March 6 and 7.

The health authority said the student used building NE1 — which is also known as the J.W. Inglis Building and houses various trades classrooms and shops.

"Fraser Health is working with BCIT to alert students who may have come in contact with this particular student of a possible exposure to measles," the health authority said in a written statement.

Fraser Health said students who were in the NE1 building on March 6 or 7 will be allowed to return to class on Monday if they were born before 1970, have had measles in the past, or if they have documentation showing they received two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Measles is considered to be very contagious as it spreads through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes.

Fraser Health is asking anyone with symptoms to isolate themselves at home and call ahead to their doctor, health unit, or hospital if their symptoms become severe enough to need medical attention.

The health authority says children under the age of five are most at risk of serious complications.

Fraser Valley outbreak grows

Roughly 100 cases of the measles have been reported east of Metro Vancouver in the Fraser Valley, prompting health officials to warn on Thursday that cases have begun spreading outside of the previous school and religious groups where they first appeared.

Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Paul Van Buynder said Friday that only one nine-year-old girl has been admitted to hospital so far, but about 80 new cases have also been reported in the general populations of the two Fraser Valley municipalities of Chilliwack and Agassiz.

Dozens of cases were also reported at a Christian School in Chilliwack with a low vaccination rate. That school has been temporarily closed.

Last week, Fraser Health issued a warning about the measles outbreak that extended to all areas of Fraser Valley East, including Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope.

Special vaccination clinics in Chilliwack and Agassiz are being organized for early next week and their locations will be available on Fraser Health's website.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Symptoms of measles may develop seven to 21 days after exposure to an infected person.

Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, cough, drowsiness, irritability and red and inflamed eyes. Small white spots may appear in the mouth and throat.

A red blotchy rash begins to appear on the face three to seven days after the start of symptoms, then spreads down the body to the arms and legs. This rash usually lasts four to seven days.

Symptoms generally last from one to two weeks.

READ: Fraser Health public service announcement (Mar. 13)

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