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Measles spreads to Kwantlen and BCIT, no reports at Langara yet

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Cases of measles have been reported at Lower Mainland college campuses, though Langara has been spared so far. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Cases of measles have been reported at Lower Mainland college campuses, though Langara has been spared so far. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

An outbreak of measles in a largely unvaccinated Fraser Valley community is linked to confirmed cases at BCIT and Kwantlen’s Langley campus, and could affect Langara students.

A religious group in Chilliwack believes vaccinations interfere with God’s care and don’t vaccinate their children against many common illnesses, including measles.

Other parents are concerned over potential heath dangers associated with vaccinating their children.

Negative reactions to vaccines uncommon

However, Dr. Meena Dawar of Vancouver Coastal Health said adverse reactions are quite rare.

The worst reactions in children are anaphylaxis (a serious allergic reaction occurring in about one in a million recipients) and febrile seizures (seizures brought on by fevers resulting from either a vaccination reaction or illness), which occur in about one in 2500 recipients. However, Dawar said both of these reactions are treatable.

“The vast majority of parents actually accept that vaccines protect their children,” she said.

Student opinions on vaccines differ

Langara marketing student Juliana Salvaterra doesn’t think people should receive vaccinations until adulthood and even then she is hesitant.

“Maybe 20 years old and up, but young children, no,” she said. “I don’t think their bodies are developed enough to deal with the disease.”

Student Carla Urquhart said vaccinations in children are important to stop the spread of disease.

“If it spreads, it affects the health of everyone . . . I go to college, so obviously if it spreads here it could impact me.”

Health Services releases statement

Langara Health Services have released a statement regarding the measles outbreak.

They asked students with potential measles symptoms to stay at home and isolate themselves.

Symptoms include: Fever, cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes and a face/neck rash that spreads to arms, legs and chest.

Measles vaccines available on campus through Health Services, at walk-in clinics and through doctors

Reported by Chris Slater

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