Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Health Officials Managed to Track Half of Those Who Flew in on Measles Plane

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Health Officials Managed to Track Half of Those Who Flew in on Measles Plane

Article excerpt

Doctors try to track down those on measles flight

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VANCOUVER - Health authorities in Vancouver have gone to great lengths drawing up a list of all individuals who may have come into contact with two high school students who were diagnosed with measles after flying home from Beijing.

But only about half that roster has been tracked down, meaning all British Columbians should ensure their immunizations are up to date, said Medical Health Officer Dr. Reka Gustafson.

"Every effort is being made to identify individuals. But it is important for people to know that is incomplete," said Gustafson, with Vancouver Coastal Health, on Tuesday.

"This is more than anything else a really important reminder that if you are out and about and breathing, you should have two doses of measles vaccine to be protected."

One boy and one girl, who attend high school in B.C.'s Lower Mainland, were diagnosed with the highly contagious disease shortly after returning from a school trip over spring break.

The pair arrived in Vancouver just before noon Saturday directly from China's capital city aboard Air China Flight CA991.

Neither teenager was completely immunized from measles, and within a few days of each other they developed symptoms, said Gustafson.

She said the first teen became sick while in China and visited a doctor, but measles was not diagnosed. The person immediately visited a family physician upon arriving home, samples were taken and the health authority was contacted.

Once home, the second teen also noticed symptoms that might indicate measles. With knowledge that a travel companion had already been positively diagnosed, doctors concluded tests were warranted and a second diagnosis was confirmed.

Gustafson would not provide specific identifying details about the two students for privacy reasons. Both teens are now recovering.

"It's very likely that they were both exposed at the same time. …

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