Local Measles Case Discovered: Health Advisory Issued
Jul 21,2006 00:00 by Bend Weekly News Sources

The Deschutes County Health Department reported a local resident has tested positive for the measles. The person is no longer infectious and there is no way of knowing who may have been exposed to her/him and at what time or day. The case offers an opportunity for the Health Department to remind residents of the value of keeping immunizations current because measles is a vaccine preventable disease.

TIMELINE:

The person with measles was infected in a country where measles common. She/he was infectious July 5th through 13th. On July 8th the infected person visited St.Charles Medical Center’s emergency room for treatment. On July 12th, the person visited St.Charles Medical Center again and then went to Bend Memorial Clinic late that afternoon with no mask covering their face.

WHAT IS MEASLES:

Measles is a highly communicable viral disease with a greater than 90% infection rate among vulnerable people (non-immunized) through close contact.One to five cases out of every 1,000 cases of measles will develop severe disease that may result in death.  Since 1992 the incidence of measles in the United States has been low (less than 1,000 cases per year) due to vaccination.  Cases of measles continue to occur from importation of the virus from other countries.

HOW MEASLES IS SPREAD:

Measles spreads from person to person through inhaling suspended airborne droplets of the virus. It can also be transferred from nose and mouth secretions (sharing a drink, coughing without covering the mouth). Measles can linger in the air for up to two hours.

MEASLES SYMPTOMS:

If you have one or more of the following symptoms, call your health provider first and mention you may have been exposed to measles. Then, call the health department nearest you to inform them of your symptoms. The incubation period (time from exposure to onset of symptoms) is 8 to13 days from exposure to someone who has the measles.

Rash: flat, faint rash appearing in clusters on upper lateral parts of the neck. As time passes (3 to 4 days) rash will become increasingly raised and may spread across the face, neck, upper arms and chest.

Fever: mild to moderate fever that increases as rash worsens. Early on, a person may get reddening of the eyes, secreting, sore eyes similar to pink eye, swollen, and eyes will become sensitive to light.

Nasal symptoms: sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, increasingly severe cough, swollen lumps (lymph nodes) in the neck area. Koplik spots (bluish-white specks on the inside of the mouth) will appear before the rash occurs.

People most vulnerable to being infected with measles are the very young and very old, pregnant women and immune depressed individuals. Once you have it, you become immune to it.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE MEASLES SYMPTOMS:

If you have measles symptoms, you are infectious to others around you. Call your health provider AND call the Deschutes County Health Department at 322-7418.

If you plan to visit your health provider or an ER facility, go into the facility wearing a face mask and call in advance if possible. This will prevent medical staff and the public from becoming infected and spreading the disease.

There is no specific treatment or remedy for measles. Vaccines are only effective if given within 72 hours of the original exposure.

For more information about measles, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/search.do?action=search&queryText=measles or call your health provider. You may also call the Deschutes County Health Department for measles information at 322-7400.