After the governor of Washington declared a state of emergency in connection with a measles outbreak on January 25, BC residents traveling south of the border are being advised to take proper precautions to avoid infection.
And while the BC Central Disease Control Disease (BCCDC) said that at this time, there have been no BC cases reported in relation to the outbreak, it is still advising those planning to travel to the affected communities that they are at potential risk of exposure to the virus .
"Measles is highly infectious and spreads through the air, coughing and sneezing, as well as respiratory secretions," said the BCDC. "The best protection against measles is vaccination."
In light of the outbreak in Washington, the BCDC is advising British colombians to review and update their immunization status at any time, and especially before any trip. The measles vaccine is available as a combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and is available from your local health unit, family doctor and many pharmacists.
BC usually experiences some cases of measles each year, usually among sub-vaccinated travelers returning from parts of the world where measles is still common. In 2018, six cases of measles were reported among BC residents: two cases acquired infection during trips out of Canada (India and the Philippines, respectively) and four acquired infection from imported cases.
To date, a single case of measles was reported in BC in 2019 in an adult traveler returning from the Philippines.