Social media in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island is buzzing with the story of an alleged case of measles in the area.
Some comments on Facebook are speculating that a local child was infected with measles while visiting Vancouver recently, where numerous cases of measles have been confirmed in recent weeks.
But Island Health is stating that there are currently no lab-confirmed cases of measles anywhere on Vancouver Island.
A statement from Island Health said the rumours circulating through social media about the alleged measles case in the Valley are the result of “heightened awareness and sensitivity as a result of the measles cases on the Lower Mainland.”
The statement said Island Health could not comment on any specific case or patient, regardless if there were any truth to the rumours on social media.
“Due to privacy laws and in support of Island Health’s confidentiality policies, we cannot discuss or disclose details about individual patients or the care they receive,” the statement said.
“What we can say is that when people are sick, their primary care provider may order a variety of tests to determine the cause of the illness and to rule out other illnesses.”
Fears of catching measles have been rampant across the province after at least 15 cases of measles were diagnosed in Vancouver in recent weeks after an unvaccinated Canadian child contracted the disease on a family trip to Vietnam.
Pharmacists across the province are prepared to give booster shots or new vaccinations to adults and children five years or older, according to a statement from the B.C. Pharmacy Association in response to the measles outbreak in Vancouver.
The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is publicly funded and available from pharmacists in nearly every community, the association said.
Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau, who is the health critic for the B.C. Green caucus, said she is “deeply concerned” for the people affected by the current measles outbreak in Vancouver and encourages all British Columbians who are medically able to be vaccinated to do so.
“The BC Green Party believes in evidence-based policy, and the evidence is clear that vaccinations save lives,” she said.
“The collective well being that comes from vaccinations is paramount, and we support the health minister’s efforts in this area. We have a responsibility to protect people who are too young or medically unable to get vaccines from these preventable diseases.”