There are no measles cases in the Interior Health region, but IH still wants to remind people that immunization is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones against measles. (File photo)

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

The measles outbreaks in Vancouver and Washington State haven’t spread to the Interior, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be concerned.

“We do not have any confirmed cases of measles in the Interior,” said Dr. Sylvina Mema, a medical health officer with Interior Health. Still, she said, the outbreaks in Vancouver and Washington State present a good opportunity to remind people about the need for immunization, not only for measles but other communicable diseases covered under the B.C. vaccination schedule.

The message IH wants to get out, she explained, is that the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against measles is to ensure vaccinations are up to date.

“We don’t want people here to panic. We want everybody to get up to date with their immunizations,” said Mema. “The outbreak in Vancouver, as far as we know, has been contained.”

It’s not uncommon to investigate people for measles, she said, especially people who have travelled to parts of the world where the disease is still endemic. But according to Interior Health records, there hasn’t been a case of measles in the IH region for eight years.

In 2010 there was an outbreak with 14 cases, and in 2011, there was another with seven cases.

Mema said the immunization rate for two-year-olds averages 86 per cent across the Interior Health region, which she describes as good, but not as high as they would like to see.

“We would like to have 95 per cent and we are working on that,” said Mema. “It (86 per cent) could be improved, but it is good.”

Mema said there seems to be a range of reasons why people don’t have themselves or their children’s immunized, including not knowing and not having time.

“And some people will be on the fence; they don’t know if vaccines are effective,” said Mema, adding that people can get all their questions answered by Interior Health nurses at local public health centers.

Then there are the people who refuse vaccinations, that “anti-vaxxers.”

“Vaccines are safe and effective, but sometimes people will object and not immunize,” said Mema. “There is a number of individuals that will not be open to hearing the messages we have.”

For those, she said, they don’t engage in an argument.

“It doesn’t take us to anywhere productive,” said Mema, adding that Interior Health has ongoing education campaigns to elevate awareness of the safety and need for immunization. “Having an outbreak so close provide us with an extra boost for people to connect with Interior Health and get immunized.”


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Second cannabis store in the works for Revelstoke

City Council approved a development variance permit for Revelsmoke Aug. 13

No public comments on Mackenzie Village development agreement amendments

Revelstoke City Council held a public hearing and heard one written comment and none in-person

Author of Emily Carr books coming to speak in Revelstoke

Laurie Carter will be at the Revelstoke library on Sept. 26

Photos: Railway Days at Revelstoke Railway Museum 2019

Today was Railway Days at the Revelstoke Railway Museum. There was food,… Continue reading

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Most Read