Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board: Indian Leadership for Indian Health

Sample Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Measles case diagnosed in Clallam County, Washington State
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Measles was diagnosed in an adult in Clallam County who was admitted to Olympia Medical Center on February 1, 2015. The date of rash onset was January 30, 2015. The patient is considered to have been contagious for 4 days before the rash began (January 26, 2015) until 4 days after the onset of rash (February 3, 2015).
Health officials from the Clallam County Health Department and the WA State Department of Health (DOH) are working to identify contacts who may have been exposed. Information about the patient’s travel history will be released as soon as it becomes available.
Measles Symptoms:  Fever, cough, coryza (congestion or runny nose, like with a cold) and conjunctivitis (itching and redness in the eyes and/or mucus discharge, like pink-eye) are the first symptoms to appear. The rash has red or dark brown spots,  usually starting on the face and spreading to the whole body beginning on the 3rd-7th day of illness.
If you think you have symptoms of measles or have been exposed to someone with measles you should call your doctor’s office or clinic right away. It is important to let them know about measles so that others in the clinic do not get exposed.
In 2014 more cases of measles were diagnosed in the US than at any time in the past 20 years. Almost all of these cases are in people who have not been fully vaccinated who were exposed to measles while traveling outside the US, or were exposed to someone from another country who had measles.  In December, a person with measles visited Disneyland in Southern California and touched off an outbreak with over 100 cases reported in 14 states.

Recommendations for Control of Measles
Quarantine and Isolation

  • The most effective control measure for those who have not been previously vaccinated and who cannot be vaccinated within 72 hours of exposure is quarantine from 7 days after exposure to 21 days after exposure; if symptoms develop during this time, the patient should be isolated until 4 days after the rash begins to prevent passing the disease to others.

Vaccination and Immune-Globulin

  • For those who may have been exposed: Vaccination is recommended within 72 hours of exposure for those who were born after 1957 and have not been vaccinated with two doses of measles vaccine (most often as the combination vaccine of measles, mumps and rubella or “MMR”). 
  • Infants ages 6-11 months should receive MMR vaccination within 72 hours as outlined above if they have been exposed.
  • For those who have not been vaccinated and who are past the 72 hour window to receive vaccination to prevent measles from the exposure, high dose human measles immune-globulin (IG) can be given up to 6 days after exposure. IG is most effective for children <1 year of age,  pregnant women and persons who are immunocompromised (i.e., those with HIV or undergoing chemotherapy), and should be considered for unvaccinated household or other close contacts.

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