Measles case confirmed in Fairbanks
State health officials recommend confirming, updating vaccinations for children and adults
June 12, 2015
(SitNews) Fairbanks, Alaska - On Tuesday, June 9, Alaska’s first measles case in more than a decade, was confirmed in Fairbanks. An adult with recent travel to central Asia developed a rash several days after arriving in Fairbanks, Alaska, on May 31. Laboratory testing for measles RNA virus was positive on June 9. Non-immune persons who were in close proximity to the infected person may be at risk of developing measles. “There is potential for wider community exposure, putting non-immune persons at risk for infection,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, Chief, Alaska Section of Epidemiology. "It is important for Fairbanks residents to review their and their children's measles vaccination status and make sure they are up-to-date."
The infected person might have been infectious while in several locations in Fairbanks during May 31 through June 7. Federal officials will be contacting persons who may have been exposed on airlines outside of Alaska. The patient was on a flight to Fairbanks that originated in Seattle and did not transit in Anchorage.
- People are at highest risk of developing measles if they have never had the disease or have never received the measles vaccine.
- Measles spreads very easily by air and by direct contact; simply being in the same room with someone who has measles is sufficient to become infected.
- People start to develop symptoms of measles 7–21 days after being exposed.
- Measles begins with a mild-to-moderate fever accompanied by a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Two or three days later, the fever spikes, often as high as 104°F. At the same time, a red blotchy rash appears, usually first on the face, along the hairline, and behind the ears. The rash rapidly spreads downward to the chest and back, and then to the thighs and feet.
- About 5 percent of people with measles will develop pneumonia. More rarely, very serious — even life-threatening — complications can occur.
People may have been exposed to measles if they were present in the following locations:
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Persons who were present at any of the locations noted in the table above should do the following:
- Verify your and/or your child’s vaccination history.
- Persons who are fully up-to-date on MMR vaccination are very unlikely to develop measles.
- If you and/or your child are not fully immune to measles:
- Stay away from hospitals, nursing homes, known immunocompromised individuals, and large gatherings during the indicated dates in the third column of the table above.
- Monitor for fever and rash during the date ranges indicated above.
- Immediately contact a health care provider and stay away from other people if you and/or your child becomes sick with a fever during this time.
- Children with suspected measles infection should stay at home until the doctor and summer school or child care staff have cleared them to return to usual out-of-home activities.
- If you have any questions, call the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at 907-269-8000.
- Measles vaccine is given in combination with mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR).
- The MMR vaccine is safe and effective; the first dose is routinely recommended at 12 months of age, and the second dose is routinely recommended starting at 4 years of age.
- Adults born after 1956 should have one dose of measles-containing vaccine or evidence of immunity.
- Women should not get the MMR vaccine during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman or a severely immunocompromised person is exposed to measles, they should contact their health care provider immediately.
- If you do not have a health care provider, your child may receive the immunization at Fairbanks Public Health Center, 1025 West Barnette; 907-452-1776. Please call for an appointment. Monday-Wednesday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services will monitor the situation and update the public regularly. For more information about measles:
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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