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Second case of measles confirmed in Portland metro area


August 21, 2018

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on Tuesday confirmed a second case of measles during August.

An individual who was diagnosed Sunday, August 19, had been in close contact with an individual diagnosed with measles on August 10. OHA and local public health agencies had alerted the individual of the exposure and had been actively monitoring the case.

On August 10, OHA received confirmation of the first case of measles in a person who was infectious and spent time in the Portland Metro area between July 30 and August 6.

"Measles is one of the most contagious diseases we know," said Rebecca Pierce, RN, PhD, of OHA’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention section. "It takes very high levels of vaccination in the population to stop its spread."

OHA worked with local public health agencies to notify individuals of their potential exposure and to inform them of steps to take to should they become ill, so as to prevent more cases.

This individual traveled out of state during part of the infectious period and, after becoming ill, followed the recommended precautions to avoid exposing others.

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 show symptoms. The virus can also linger in the air for minutes to hours after someone who is infectious has left.

Most Oregonians have been vaccinated against measles, and their risk is low. Risk may be higher for unvaccinated persons who were in these locations:

  • August 17, Portland International Airport, 9:15-10:45 p.m.
  • August 18, Marco’s Café and Espresso Bar, 7910 SW 35th Ave., Portland, 8-11 a.m.

"From this exposure, we would expect symptoms in anyone newly infected to appear any time over the next two weeks," Pierce said. There is no connection between this case and the measles cases that occurred in Multnomah County in June and July, she said.

Measles poses the highest risk to people who have not been vaccinated, 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:

  1. You were born before 1957.
  2. Your physician has diagnosed you with measles.
  3. A blood test proves that you are immune.
  4. You have been fully vaccinated against measles (two doses).

About measles

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. 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.

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.

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:

  • Clackamas County Public Health 503-655-8411
  • Clark County (Washington) Public Health 360-397-8182
  • Multnomah County Public Health 503-988-3406
  • Washington County Public Health 503-846-3594
  • Yamhill County Public Health 503-434-7525

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 Media contact

Delia Hernández

OHA External Relations


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