Second Measles Case Identified in Spokane
With Additional Confirmed Measles Case, Health District Taking Extra Precautions to Limit Spread in Spokane County
Spokane Regional Health District continues to spread prevention messages, encourages everyone to check measles vaccination status
For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 324-1539
SPOKANE, Wash. – April 29, 2015 – A second case of measles (rubeola) has been diagnosed in an unvaccinated adult resident of Spokane County. This individual was not seen in any health care settings and is a close contact of the first case, previously confirmed to have measles on April 21. Before receiving the measles diagnosis, the second individual confirmed to have the virus was in the following public locations. Anyone who was at these locations during the times listed was possibly exposed to measles:
Thursday, April 23
7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Madeleine’s Café – 415 W Main
Thursday, April 23
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
WinCo Foods – 9257 N Nevada
Friday, April 24
7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Madeleine’s Café – 415 W Main
Anyone at these locations at the times listed above and not immune to measles would likely become sick between April 30, 2015 and May 15, 2015. If an individual is experiencing symptoms of measles (high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, rash) and believes they may have been exposed, they should contact their health care provider.
All locations where public exposures potentially occurred no longer pose a risk to human health. The first individual confirmed to have measles is no longer contagious and the second individual is at home recovering and poses no risk to the public. But, as officials continue to investigate these cases, they are taking extra precautions to limit the further spread of measles in the community. They urge any individual who is unvaccinated and experiencing symptoms of a high fever or a rash to avoid contact with unvaccinated individuals, as well as steer clear of other public activities like this weekend’s Lilac Bloomsday Run and its associated events, going to work or school, running errands, going to church, grocery shopping, using public transportation (bus, airplane, train), etc.
“Any individual experiencing measles symptoms should call their health care provider or emergency department before seeking care, so staff are able to take appropriate precautions to prevent others from being infected,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, health officer for Spokane Regional Health District. “And while this shouldn't diminish the community spirit that is evident every year at the Lilac Bloomsday Run, we do want to ensure that everyone’s health is protected, and participants and visitors can certainly help in that.”
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes fever, red and sore eyes, runny nose, cough and a characteristic rash. The disease can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis and death. Measles is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing or sneezing and can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. Infected people can spread measles from four days before their rash starts through four days afterward.
Officials are still working to identify how the original unvaccinated individual was exposed, but there is still no indication of recent travel or contact with a previously-known case. The health district continues to monitor approximately 50 individuals who are known to be unvaccinated and who may have been in contact with the confirmed cases. Officials are ensuring these residents spend 21 days at home to curb the risk of spreading the virus. An additional 250 individuals who were previously-vaccinated or had proven immunity were cleared by the health district in the past week.
This situation underscores the importance of getting vaccinated. Vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect individuals from measles and other potentially dangerous communicable diseases. Individuals who are under the age of one or with certain clinical conditions cannot be vaccinated and are therefore at highest risk for measles. Residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated to protect themselves and the most vulnerable members of the community.
Kids need two doses of MMR – the first dose at age 12-15 months and the second at four to six years of age. Adults should receive at least one dose of measles vaccine, unless they:
- were previously immunized (a titer measures this)
- were born prior to 1957
- have documentation of previously being diagnosed with measles by a doctor (this is not likely)
- have other medical contraindications for the vaccine
Adults who are unsure whether they received the vaccine can still get one, since there is no harm in getting it a second time.Pregnant women should wait until after giving birth to get the vaccine.
Individuals contacted by the health district and deemed at risk of infection have been offered assistance in finding vaccination resources, as well as offered free blood screenings to determine their level of immunity to measles. During the past week, the health district worked with Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories (PAML) and the eastern Washington chapter of the Medical Reserve Corps to administer over 80 of these immunity screening tests. Those not being monitored by the health district, but interested in obtaining this blood screening test, can talk to their health care provider, or simply walk into any PAML patient service center and pay $45 to get the test.
The immunity screening test (also called a titer) measures antibody levels to determine whether an individual’s immune system has the capability to respond to a measles infection. If the antibody level is negative, an individual should consider getting an MMR vaccine.
Individuals who wish to get the MMR vaccine, can:
- Call their doctor, nurse or clinic
- Visit their local pharmacy
- View this list of local community service providers
- Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org/
For those who are uninsured or underinsured, area Walgreens pharmacies have a limited supply of low-cost MMR vaccine. Also, area Safeway pharmacies are able to administer MMR vaccine to children beginning at age 1. If an individual needs help finding a health care provider or if they don’t have health insurance, they can call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or visit ParentHelp123 website.
Spokane Regional Health District officials will be available to answer specific questions about measles and prevention for the media today 4:30 p.m., PDT, outside the public entrance to its main building at 1101 W. College Ave.
Please continue to refer to SRHD’s FAQ on the home page of srhd.org for the most up-to-date information on the outbreak. Members of the public with general measles questions can also call 2-1-1, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m, PDT. Again, members of the public who are concerned they may have been exposed to measles should first talk to their health care provider, or they can call (509) 324-1550.
Follow SRHD’s social media channels on Facebook and Twitter (follow #SpokaneMeasles) for great information also. More information about measles and MMR vaccine can also be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page: cdc.gov/measles/about/index.html.