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Measles hits Chilliwack public schools

Rosedale traditional community school. - File
Rosedale traditional community school.
— image credit: File

Measles has hit Chilliwack public schools.

Just before the end of spring break last week, parents at Rosedale community traditional school got a letter from the Fraser Health Authority (FHA), telling them a case of measles had been confirmed at the school between March 11 and March 13.

In a follow up press release Monday, superintendent Evelyn Novak said public health staff were contacting affected families directly and working with the school district to minimize further risk to students, staff and families.

The well-being of our students is of paramount importance to the Chilliwack school district and once we received confirmation of the measles outbreak we began working closely with Fraser Health, Novak said. “The district appreciates the cooperation it is receiving from parents and the timely response and direction our partner at Fraser Health has provided.”

The measles outbreak, which was declared on March 8 after two confirmed cases were reported at Mount Cheam Christian school in Rosedale, has seen 228 confirmed cases to date, according to a Fraser Health press release Monday.

Health officials are encouraged, however, that the cases have been largely contained within the original private school and ultra-orthodox church population in Rosedale where the disease first hit and which eschews vaccination on religious grounds.

“We know our vaccine program is working because if it were not, we would be seeing measles cases multiplying outside of this specific population,” Fraser Health chief medical health officer Dr. Van Buynder said. “I am encouraged by this and want to stress the need for people to continue to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves, their families and others from this disease.”

The most effective protection against the measles virus is two doses of the vaccine, according to health officials.

In Chilliwack, vaccination clinics have been set up at the Chilliwack Family Care Centre (inside Superstore)
at 45779 Luckakuck Way on Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Since clinics are drop in, clients are advised to arrive 20 minutes before the end of the clinic.

Children under the age of five are most at risk of serious disease and need to get the vaccine from a general practitioner or a public health clinic.

Information on vaccination clinics in Fraser East communities for children between the ages of one and five years is available at www.fraserhealth.ca.

Anyone with two documented doses of MMR vaccine is considered protected. People born before January 1, 1970 are likely immune due to previous measles infection and no immunization is recommended.

All individuals born on or after January 1, 1970 should receive two doses of measles-containing vaccine after one year of age.

 

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