January 4, 2019
On January 3 OHA received confirmation of a case of measles in a person who was infectious and spent time in The Dalles and Hood River between December 26 and December 31. At the time of this release, no additional cases of measles have been identified.
The individual was seen Wednesday, January 2, at a hospital in the Portland area, and measles was confirmed as the diagnosis on January 3. OHA and local public health agencies are actively monitoring the case.
"Measles is a highly contagious disease with the potential to cause significant health complications," said Miriam McDonell, MD, North Central Public Health District’s Health Officer. "Fortunately, due to very high vaccination rates in Oregon, cases of measles are quite rare."
Most Oregonians have been vaccinated against measles and their risk is low. Risk may be higher for unvaccinated persons who may have been exposed at one of these locations during these times only:
- The Discovery Center, The Dalles, Dec. 29, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
- Fred Meyer, The Dalles, Dec. 31, 5-6 p.m.
- Doppio Café, Hood River, Dec. 30, noon to 1 p.m.
- Goodwill, Hood River, Dec. 30, noon to 1 p.m.
- Full Sail Brewery, Hood River, Dec. 30, 1-2 p.m.
- OHSU Emergency Department, Portland, Jan. 2, 9 a.m. to noon.
After someone is exposed, illness usually develops in about two weeks, sometimes longer. Oregon public health officials are advising anyone who believes they have symptoms of measles to first call their health care provider or urgent care center by telephone to create an entry plan to avoid exposing others in waiting rooms. The symptoms of measles start with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a red rash that usually begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
OHA is working with local public health agencies to notify individuals of their potential exposure and to inform them of steps to take if they become ill in order to prevent more cases.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads easily to people who are not immune. It is spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. People with measles can spread the virus to others before they develop a rash. The virus can also linger in the air for minutes to hours after someone who is infectious has left.
This individual traveled from out of the country and followed the recommended precautions to avoid exposing others, after becoming ill. Most measles cases in the US result from international travel; the disease is brought into the US by unvaccinated people who get infected in other countries.
"From this exposure, we would expect symptoms in anyone newly infected to appear any time over the next two weeks," McDonell said.
Measles poses the highest risk to pregnant women, infants under 12 months of age and people with weakened immune systems. A person is considered immune to measles if ANY of the following apply:
- You were born before 1957.
- Your physician has diagnosed you with measles.
- A blood test proves that you are immune.
- You have been fully vaccinated against measles (two doses).
People are contagious with measles for four days before the rash appears and up to four days after the rash appears.
Common complications of measles include ear infection, lung infection, and diarrhea. Swelling of the brain is a rare but much more serious complication. In developed countries, one or two out of every 1,000 children with measles will die from the disease.
Anyone with questions about measles infection or the measles vaccine should call their primary care provider or their county health department. For more information on measles for the public, please visit the OHA measles webpage
or call the public health departments in the following counties:
- North Central Public Health District (Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties) 541-506-2600.
- Hood River County Health Department, 541-386-1115.
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