Students and staff at a Surrey, B.C. high school may have been exposed to the measles last week, according to a warning from health officials.
Fraser Health said the potential exposure took place at Fleetwood Park Secondary School from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.
As a result, any students who have never received a single dose of the MMR vaccine – which protects against measles, mumps and rubella – are being told to stay away from the school for the next two-and-a-half weeks.
Those students, as well as unvaccinated staff members who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1970, "will not be allowed to return to school" until Nov. 26 unless they can provide proof of immunity, Fraser Health said in a letter to parents Wednesday.
Students who have only had one of the two recommended MMR doses can receive their second at an immunization clinic being set up at Fleetwood Park Secondary this Thursday and Friday.
Getting a second dose is necessary to "ensure their protection and to be able to continue attending school," Fraser Health said.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that can sometimes cause severe complications, including brain inflammation, convulsions, deafness and brain damage.
Fatal infections are rare in Canada, but do occur about once in every 500 to 3,000 cases, according to health officials.
The virus has an incubation period of about 10 days, meaning it can take that long for symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes to show. It sometimes takes as long as 21 days.
Anyone who is unsure about their immunization status is advised to call their doctor.