Coquitlam measles exposure prompts fresh warning

Fraser Health is once again warning residents of the Tri-Cities to get vaccinated after the confirmed case of measles passed through a Coquitlam restaurant and hotel.

Correction: the first version of this story noted the infected individual passed through the Ramada by Wyndam on Saturday. In fact, the infected person passed through the hotel on Sunday.

A new case of measles has been identified in the Fraser Health region — in Coquitlam, in fact — marking the 27th confirmed case so far this year in B.C.

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The infected individual caught the disease while overseas and was in several public places, including a Coquitlam hotel and restaurant, while they were infectious, according to Fraser Health.

The health authority recommends anyone who was on flight JL018 from Tokyo to Vancouver or who was in the international terminal of Vancouver International Airport between 10:25 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. last Saturday to review their immunization history and watch for symptoms.

Guests at the Ramada by Wyndam hotel (631 Lougheed Hwy.) or the Sun Star Restaurant inside the hotel between 8:30 a.m. and noon Sunday may have also been exposed. Shoppers at Lougheed Town Centre between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on the same day may also be at risk.

“If there's a fever and a rash, and you've been at one of those places potentially exposed, then we would ask that you phone your doctor, you let them know that you think you might have measles,” said Dr. Ingrid Tyler, medical health officer at Fraser Health.

The health authority said people should phone their physicians before going for an examination to allow the doctor to  take precautions to protect other patients from exposure.

Symptoms often start with a high fever, a runny nose and itchy eyes, followed by a rash that develops on the face and moves down the body over three to four days. Measles can lead to pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, seizures, deafness, brain damage and death.

Someone infected with the measles is generally contagious from four days before to four days after the rash starts, meaning that if you think you were exposed, you should look out for symptoms until May 5.

The most recent confirmed infection was acquired outside the country and is not connected to any previous case in the Lower Mainland, according to the health authority.

“We’ve been responding to the cases as they’ve coming up, we’ve been reminding our physicians to report suspected measles cases. We’ve been working on the [provincial health] ministry catch-up campaign,” said Tyler.

Measles can be transmitted through the air, close contact like kissing, or by sharing food, drinks or a cigarette with an infected person. The most effective way to fight the spread of the disease is through population-level immunization programs to achieve what is known as heard immunity.

Residents of the Tri-Cities can get the measles vaccine at a family doctor or walk-in clinic. Many pharmacies also stock the measles vaccination for adults and children over five years old.

 

Stefan Labbé

@slabbe@tricitynews.com

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