Vancouver Coastal Health Public Health is following up on two cases of measles involving passengers arriving in Vancouver on a flight from Beijing, China. The two individuals were passengers on Air China Flight CA991, arriving in Vancouver on March 21st.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

Both individuals have tested positive for measles, and would have been infectious on the flight. Measles is now rare in Canada, but unimmunized people are at risk. Passengers on this flight who are not up to date for their measles immunizations should call their family physician, Public Health Unit, or walk in clinic to receive an MMR (measles, mumps and Rubella) vaccine as soon as possible.

People born before 1957 are considered immune, and do not need a vaccine. Those born betwee‎n 1957 and 1970 should have one dose and those born after 1970, should have two doses of measles-containing vaccine.

Related: Taiwan flight attendant is country’s 2nd rubella case; contact tracing ongoing

Measles is highly infectious and spread through the air from someone who is infected coughs or sneezes. People with measles are infectious before they develop the classical red rash and fever, because the illness begins with cold-like symptoms, a cough and runny nose.

Measles can be a serious illness with complications such as inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), convulsions, deafness, or brain damage. In Canada one person in every 3,000 with measles dies from their infection. Infants under one year of age and adults tend to have more severe illness than older children.

If you, or your child, develop a fever and a rash, you should see a doctor. Please call your doctor’s office before you go, and tell them that you think you or your child may have measles. This will allow your doctor to take precautions to protect other patients. Please also call VCH Public Health at 604-675-3900 to report your illness.