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A nurse prepares a vaccine shot against measles at a clinic in Beijing, China, in September 2010. (Alexander F. Yuan/The Associated Press)
A nurse prepares a vaccine shot against measles at a clinic in Beijing, China, in September 2010. (Alexander F. Yuan/The Associated Press)

B.C. measles spread as those with symptoms refusing to isolate Add to ...

Health officials in B.C. are warning students who live on campus at the University of the Fraser Valley and staff members who worked the recent Chilliwack Lions Club Music and Dance Festival that they may have been exposed to the measles virus.

Although officials have told people showing symptoms to isolate themselves for the 21-day incubation period and to then see a doctor, some with the virus have continued to expose others to it, from the Fraser Valley region to Burnaby, just east of Vancouver.

“We are disappointed that people who are showing symptoms of measles are not isolating themselves as requested by Fraser Health – and as a result other people in the community are being exposed to this infectious disease,” said Dr. Paul Van Buynder, chief medical health officer with Fraser Health.

“The most recent cases occurred in a public school student and a worker in a community retail outlet, thus exposing large numbers of the public during their infectious period,” Dr. Van Buynder said.

The University of the Fraser Valley has an overall student population of 15,000. The recent music and dance festival was held at the city’s Cultural Centre. Fraser Health has not released the name of the retail outlet, and hasn’t explained why just staff at the festival – and not members of the public who attended it – were targeted in the warning.

The first two cases of measles in the region’s outbreak were discovered in a Chilliwack Christian school earlier this month. Fraser Health soon reported that the number of people suspected of having the virus was 80 to 100. Days later, a confirmed case related to the Chilliwack area was found at the BCIT campus in Burnaby.

Anyone suffering from cold-like symptoms – coughing, red eyes, fever and a rash that starts from the neck and face and travels down the body – is asked to contact their doctor or visit a pharmacist.

“The best protection against measles infection remains two doses of measles vaccine,” said Dr. Van Buynder. “We strongly urge all people who are not vaccinated to get immunized.”

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