Measles

A 3D graphical representation of a measles virus particle.

A Latah County resident has a confirmed case of the measles, according to Public Health - Idaho North Central District, which is collaborating with Gritman Medical Center and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to respond. It is the first confirmed case of the measles in Idaho since 2001.

The individual was at Gritman Medical Center, Laboratory and Imaging waiting area from about 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 31 while contagious. The measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area.

Anyone who was at this location between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. could have been exposed to measles. Public Health is notifying patients and their families who were at this location in Latah County and might have been exposed. If additional exposure locations are identified, they will be added to a list and locations of exposure in Latah County at http://idahopublichealth.com/district-2/measles.

Measles is preventable. To prevent an outbreak, ensure that all children and adults, who can be vaccinated, do get vaccinated. If you are ill and think you have measles, stay at home contact your healthcare provider. If you think you have been exposed and you are not vaccinated stay at home and contact Public Health. If you have questions about your vaccination status, contact your healthcare provider.

Most people in Latah County have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low. However, anyone who was in the locations of potential exposure to measles around the times listed above should:

  1. Find out if you have been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously. Make sure you are up-to-date with the recommended number of measles (MMR) vaccinations.
  2. Call a healthcare provider promptly if you develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash. To avoid possibly spreading measles to others, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you might have measles and could be contagious.
  3. Vaccination or medication can be given after exposure in some cases to prevent illness – check with your healthcare provider. This is especially important for people at high risk for measles complications.

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.

Measles symptoms (fever, cough, and red, watery eyes, followed by a rash) begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.

Measles complications can include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and rarely, encephalitis (brain inflammation). Complications from measles can happen even in healthy people but those at highest risk include infants and children under 5 years, adults over 20 years, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems from drugs or underlying disease. See https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/index.html for information on measles vaccine.

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