VANCOUVER – People planning to travel to the London Olympics are being reminded to make sure their measles vaccination is up to date.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver is advising travellers destined for the Olympics and other parts of the world, including Europe, that measles has been on the rise in many parts of the world.
Last year alone, multiple importations of measles from Europe resulted in an outbreak of almost 800 cases in Quebec.
And in 2010, B.C. had an outbreak of about 80 cases following three separate importations, two of which were linked to the Winter Olympics.
Measles is highly contagious, and spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or shares drinks or food with a person who is susceptible to the virus.
While most people survive, measles can be fatal in small children; about one or two out of every 1,000 children infected die from measles.
Infection is marked by a rash that covers the whole body and can trigger ear infections and pneumonia as well.
After being fought down to low levels in developed countries through the use of childhood vaccines, the disease has rebounded in recent years due to growing anti-vaccination sentiments.
The BCCDC says anyone born after 1956 should have two doses of measles-containing vaccine. And it says children travelling to parts of the world where the disease is common should receive these doses prior to travel.