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Measles outbreak alarms minister

Health Minister Terry Lake - Black Press
Health Minister Terry Lake
— image credit: Black Press

Health Minister Terry Lake said his ministry is watching closely as Fraser Health deals with a potential outbreak of measles, which appears linked to a lack of routine vaccinations in school-aged children.

Lake said he has not yet considered making vaccinations mandatory for school-aged children, as other provinces have, despite some schools in the Fraser Valley reporting no vaccinations at all.

"At this time we're not going down that road, but we certainly want the public to be very aware of the importance of vaccination, and get the rates back up where they should be," Lake said.

Fraser Health has confirmed two cases and about 100 suspected cases in the Eastern Fraser Valley. Officials wouldn't identify the school Monday, except to say it is in a Chilliwack community with a history of low immunization rates.

Officials asked anyone who believes they are exposed to measles to contact their doctor before arriving at a medical facility.

"We are urging individuals who may have been exposed to the virus to contact their local Public Health Unit to be cleared before travelling during spring break," said Dr. Paul Van Buynder, chief medical officer for Fraser Health.

The measles warning applies to Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope.

 

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