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Passenger with measles went through Vancouver International Airport: BCCDC

Passengers walk through Vancouver International Airport during the busy holiday season. Passengers walk through Vancouver International Airport during the busy holiday season.
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People who were on certain flights or were at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) last Thursday may have been exposed to measles, according to an alert from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

The public health agency said a passenger with a positive case of measles travelled through YVR on Nov. 23. The individual spent time on the route between arrival gate D73 in the international terminal and departure gate C48 in the domestic terminal, where they waited for their next flight.

The passenger was on board Air Canada flight 79 from Dubai to Vancouver, departing the UAE at 2:17 a.m. local time and landing at YVR at 6:07 a.m. Pacific Time.

The person then flew from Vancouver to Calgary on Air Canada flight 206, which left YVR at 10:36 a.m. Pacific Time and landed at YYC at 1:06 p.m. Mountain Time.

The traveller tested positive for measles in Alberta, the BCCDC noted.

Anyone who was in those areas of the airport or on those two flights may have been exposed to the disease, the BCCDC said.

“Measles is a highly infectious disease transmitted by airborne spread. 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 wrote Wednesday.

“Individuals most at risk from measles are those who are completely unvaccinated against the disease including babies under one year of age.”

The BCCDC said that anyone travelling with an unvaccinated infant or is not immune to measles should get post-exposure prophylaxis with immunoglobulin to minimize the risk of the disease developing—noting that Wednesday, Nov. 29 is the last day to do so effectively.

To receive the treatment, you can call a local health unit and ask for the communicable disease nurse. 

According to the BCCDC, those infected with measles develop symptoms in seven to 21 days after being exposed—which means non-immune people exposed on Nov. 23 could develop symptoms as early as Nov. 30 and up to Dec. 14.

Measles symptoms include: fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a rash.

If you suspect you have measles, the BCCDC says to call your healthcare provider, a local health unit or the 811 health information line.

The centre said that most people born after 1970 have received two doses of a measles vaccine, and those born before 1970 are likely to be immune due to a prior infection.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, measles had been on the rise worldwide, and interruptions of immunization programs due to the pandemic have resulted in measles resurgence in some countries,” the BCCDC wrote.

“Canada has had several cases of measles in 2023 where a person acquired the infection while travelling. If you are not up to date on your immunizations, the best time to protect yourself is before you travel.”

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