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Measles outbreak contained, says health ministry

The measles outbreak in B.C. has been largely contained to the Chilliwack area, health officials declared Monday.

Health minister Terry Lake credited the work done by Fraser Health, and specifically chief medical health officer Dr. Paul Van Buynder, for the success.

"Dr. Van Buynder and Fraser Health have shown excellent guidance and management of this difficult situation," said  Lake. "I applaud the professionalism and tireless efforts of the dedicated staff who have engaged in an open and respectful manner with the leaders, families and individuals in these affected communities."

Now into its fourth week, the outbreak has generated 320 cases so far, health officials said.  But nearly all those cases have been limited to the original source community which shuns vaccinations on religious grounds.

The threat to communities outside the eastern Fraser Valley is considered low.

Since the outbreak was declared on March 8, Fraser Health has worked with schools, community groups, church groups, public health nurses and medical officers to investigate the outbreak and implement control measures such as setting up dedicated immunization clinics in public health and physician offices and urging people to get vaccinated.

The measles outbreak is expected to continue for another two weeks as the second and third wave of the disease makes its way through the communities. Anyone who has symptoms or suspects they have contracted measles is encouraged to stay home until the symptoms are over.

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