And then there were 10.
The ninth and tenth confirmed cases of measles in the region were announced Friday by Vancouver Coastal Health, the latter involving a person who spent time at four public locations in Richmond on Feb. 15 and Feb. 17: Russel Sean Fitness and Sport Check on Feb. 15, and the Steveston Starbucks at No. 1 and Bayview and Dave’s Fish and Chips on Moncton Street on Feb. 17.
“One case is very clearly associated with the same set of schools,” said medical health officer Dr. Althea Hayden, referring to the French schools in Vancouver: École Anne-Hébert, École Jules-Verne and École Rose-Des-Vents.
Things are different with the last confirmed case though.
“With (this) case of measles, we have not identified the source of infection and the investigation is ongoing,” she said. “We only make these general public announcements after we have exhausted all other avenues for notification. We hope to identify the source of infection for this case in the coming days.” Hayden said.
Person number 10 was out and about while they were infectious, perhaps before they even knew they were ill; it can take days or weeks for the symptoms to show up. People are usually contagious for three to four days before the cold-like symptoms appear. Those are followed a few days later by a rash that often starts in the hairline, according to Hayden, then spreads down the face to the torso.
The key dates, times and locations in Richmond include:
Feb. 15 from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Russel Sean Fitness, 9 – 12491 No. 2 Rd.
Feb. 15 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Sport Chek at Richmond Centre
Feb.17 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Starbucks on No. 1 Road at Bayview
Feb. 17 from 1:00 to 3:45 p.m. at Dave's Fish and Chips in Steveston
Because the microscopic droplets containing the virus can linger in the air, able to infect anyone who breathes them in, for up to two hours, the times when someone could have been exposed to measles at the following locations takes that into consideration.
She asked that people look at the following times and dates when they could have been exposed to this highly infectious virus.
Feb. 15, 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Russel Sean Fitness on No. 2 Road
Feb. 15, 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Canada Line Southbound from Broadway, City Hall, station to station to Langara (49th Avenue)
Feb. 15, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Langara College’s Tech Building, Vancouver
Feb. 15, 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Sport Chek, Richmond Centre
Feb. 17, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Starbucks, No. 1 Road and Bayview, Richmond
Feb. 17, 1 to 3:45 p.m. at Dave's Fish and Chips, Steveston
Feb. 18, 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. at McDonald's Restaurant, Squamish
Feb. 18, 11 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. at Scandinave Spa, Whistler
“There is no reason to shut any of these places down and no reason for the public to avoid going to these places now,” she said. “These places are now safe.”
Addressing people who may have been in those places during those very specific time periods, she said: “For those who may have been exposed, review your immunization history. If you were born before 1970, we consider you to be immune to measles.”
“Between 1970 and 1994, or if you were born outside B.C., you may have received only a single dose of measles-containing vaccine. We ask you to go and get another now. We are not concerned about running out of vaccine.”
She said the best way is to check your vaccine records today.
“We recommend you have the MMR vaccine within three days of exposure. It can prevent or reduce the severity of measles.”
That means you are less likely to pass it on to others and it means you are less likely to lose your life, brain function, or your hearing from measles.
Dr. Meena Dawar, Richmond’s public health director, said that although Richmond residents have high levels of protection against the measles virus, she advises those born since 1970 to check their immunization status and if uncertain, to get a booster.
"Any families, who have chosen to not immunize their children, are highly recommended to reconsider their decision in light of this outbreak. Measles vaccine is safe and it works.”