Measles outbreak in British Columbia

Authorities in British Columbia confirmed 83 measles cases in the Canadian province, according to The Province, and said the high number is due in part to many in Western Canada who refuse to be vaccinated.

Dr. Monika Naus with the B.C. Centre of Disease Control told The Province that the cases are all part of an outbreak that began during the 2010 Winter Olympics, which were held in Vancouver.

Though the rare outbreak is thought to have begun in the city's downtown area, Naus told The Province that the 83 cases have been reported in regions all over British Columbia.

The measles outbreak, she told The Province should die off by June.

"I would think by the time school is out, this outbreak will be over," Naus told The Province. "I'm hopeful we won't have measles transmissions during the summer months."

The Province reports that the first three cases of the outbreak are tied to visitors who came to the Winter Olympics.

"Our suspicion is we had some out-of-country visitors with measles, who...weren’t diagnosed in B.C.,” Naus told The Province. “And then [the outbreak] took off in B.C. partly because we have unvaccinated people in the province.”

The disease control center is asking British Columbians born after 1956 to get vaccinated. But, Naus told The Province, some who live there refuse vaccinations.

“The big caveat is if [the outbreak] gets into an unvaccinated community, and we do have some that are geographically localized, then we could see lots of measles activity,” Naus told The Province.