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Tuesday,  March 5, 2024 12:20 AM 

B.C. disease control posts measles alert for Vancouver airport

  • Air
  •   11-30-2023  1:17 am
  •   Pax Global Media

B.C. disease control posts measles alert for Vancouver airport
Vancouver International Airport. (Shutterstock/The Bold Bureau)
Pax Global Media

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control has issued a travel-related health alert, stating that an air passenger with measles travelled through Vancouver International Airport (YVR) recently and that people on certain flights, or at YVR on a specific day, may have been exposed.

“People most at risk for measles are those who are not immunized,” wrote the public health arm for B.C.’s Provincial Health Services Authority on X, formally known as Twitter, on Wednesday (Nov. 29).

The potential exposure to measles on flights, and at Vancouver airport, occurred on Nov. 23, the department said.

(X/@CDCofBC)

At YVR, an ill passenger spent time on their route between the arrival gate D73 at the international terminal and at the departure gate C48 in the domestic terminal, where he or she waited for their next flight.

B.C. disease control says the infected passenger travelled on the following flights to and from YVR:

  • Air Canada Flight 79 departed from Dubai, United Arab Emirates at 2:17 AM local time and arrived in Vancouver at 6:07 AM Pacific Time.
  • Air Canada flight 206 departed from Vancouver at 10:36 AM Pacific Time and arrived in Calgary, Alberta at 1:06 PM Mountain Time.

The passenger tested positive for measles in Alberta, the agency says.

Public health officials in Alberta issued an alert through the Canadian Network for Public Health Intelligence on Nov. 28 and posted an advisory online.

Measles is a highly-infectious disease transmitted by airborne spread, says B.C. health.

“Most people will be immune to measles due to prior immunization and others, especially older adults, may have had measles as a child and are immune,” the agency said. “Individuals most at risk from measles are those who are completely unvaccinated against the disease including babies under one year of age.”

Passengers who were on flights on Nov. 23 and were travelling with an unvaccinated infant, or are immunocompromised and not immune to measles, Wednesday (Nov. 29) would have been the last day to receive post-exposure prophylaxis with immunoglobulin to minimize the risk of measles developing.

To get the immunoglobulin, passengers should call their local health unit and ask for the communicable disease nurse, says B.C. disease control.  

To find a public health unit, use the locator on ImmunizeBC.ca.

Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and rash, which starts first on the face and neck, and spreads to the chest, arms and legs. A rash will last about four to seven days, said B.C. health.

Those who are not immune and were exposed to the measles virus could get measles, the agency said.

“If infected, you will develop symptoms within seven 7 to 21 days of being exposed,” the agency wrote. “If you were exposed during travel through Vancouver International Airport on November 23, symptoms could develop as early as November 30 and as late as December 14.”

Those that suspect they may have measles are being advised to call their healthcare provider.

People can also call their local health unit and ask for the communicable disease nurse or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1. 8-1-1, which is a free-of-charge for provincial health information and advice phone line available in 130 different languages.


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