Possible measles exposure at Victoria Montessori school

Island Health is investigating a likely case of measles, and is still in the process of contacting the parents of approximately 300 students who may have been exposed to the infection at Selkirk Montessori School in Victoria, B.C.

The health authority said Monday that the students, aged three to 14 years-old, may have been exposed to measles during the week of April 8 to 12, 2019.

Penny Barner, executive director of the Pacific Montessori Society said the school was advised of the probability that a younger sibling of one of the students had been exposed to measles.

“The health authority is still looking into it. It hasn’t been confirmed,” she said.

Up to 30 individuals at the school may not be immunized according to Island Health.

“We are holding a special clinic this afternoon to provide them with immunization, if they so choose,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, the region’s chief medical health officer.

Two follow up clinics will take place at the school on Tuesday and Wednesday for anyone who may have fallen behind on their immunizations.

Risks to the public

Island Health is alerting individuals they may have been exposed to measles at the following locations and times:

  • Victoria Butterfly Gardens, April 10, 2019 between 3 p.m. PT and 5 p.m. PT.
  • Walmart Supercentre, Uptown Shopping Centre, April 11, 2019 between 2:30 p.m. PT and 5:30 p.m. PT.
  • Walmart Supercentre, Uptown Shopping Centre, April 12, 2019 between 2 p.m. PT to 5:30 p.m. PT.

Anyone who was at these locations at the specified times is asked to monitor any symptoms for 21 days after the exposure date. 

Symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, diarrhea and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.

Anyone born after 1970 that has never had the measles infection or who did not have two doses of vaccine are at highest risk of measles, and Island Health advises them to get fully immunized immediately. 

Unvaccinated students won’t be allowed to attend Selkirk Montessori School  for 21 days. And students who were vaccinated outside of B.C. are also being told to stay at home until they can have their records verified.

There is no current requirement for B.C. children to show proof of vaccination at school, but mandatory reporting is likely to come as students head back to school in the fall.

On April 10, 2019 the Island Health Authority confirmed a total of six cases of measles infection on the South Island.

Common myths about the MMR vaccine

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and CBC reporter Bethany Lindsay address five misconceptions about the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. 2:49

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