Volume 90, Issue 74

Wednesday, February 05, 1997



Getting spotted a concern at Simon Fraser University

By Karena Walter
Gazette Staff

A mass immunization program at a British Columbian university ended yesterday but the school is still taking precautions after an outbreak of highly-contagious red measles.

There are 45 known or suspected cases of measles in lower mainland B.C. and 30 are linked to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, said Ken Mennell, the director of media and public relations at the school.

On the advice of public health officials, any events that would bring visitors to campus are being discouraged. The honour-roll reception scheduled for Feb. 13 and the annual awards ceremony on Feb. 14 have both been postponed indefinitely, Mennell said.

Most of the affected are students, said Micheline Nimmock, a nurse at the Burnaby health department. "Right now we're requesting everybody gets vaccinated."

About 11,000 people have been vaccinated since Friday. The vaccine currently used is 90 per cent effective, she said.

There are 22,000 staff and students at the university and there could possibly be 2,000 cases of measles, Nimmock explained.

She added the university population is particularly vulnerable and the source of the outbreak could have come from a variety of different sources.

"We don't know what is going to happen. We expect there will be more cases," Nimmock said.

Western has not had any reported cases of the red measles this year.

Judy Leyshon, clinic administrator for student health services, said it takes between seven and 14 days from contact to spotting. The measles usually last about a week and include a fever, cough, rash and increased optical sensitivity to light.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997