Measles alert issued after dozen cases diagnosed

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control is warning health care professionals and the public to be on the alert for measles after nearly a dozen people in Vancouver were diagnosed recently with the disease, Canwest News Service reported.

Ten laboratory-confirmed and four suspect cases of measles were identified in the past two weeks, including an out-of-province visitor, the BCCDC said March 30 in a news release. Eight of the 14 cases are associated with a single household with unvaccinated members.

"It is suspected that at least two out-of-country visitors brought measles into Vancouver sometime in February or early March, as two separate strains of the virus have been identified," the BCCDC said.

"Susceptible people exposed to these imported cases would have developed measles by now if infected. Several cases have occurred because the first B.C. cases spread the infection to others."

A separate case of measles has also been confirmed in the same time period in a traveler from India returning home to British Columbia. None of those diagnosed with measles had two doses of measles vaccine, which is needed for full protection, the BCCDC said.