Public Health – Seattle and King County are investigating a confirmed case of measles in an adult female among King County residents. The individual had been at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Providence Swedish First Hill during the period of infection. Anyone who has been to these locations during the time span that this person has traveled may have been exposed to measles. The individual was not vaccinated and the infection was likely acquired outside the United States.
“Measles is highly contagious, and if you’re not immune, you can get measles just by being in a room where someone with measles has been,” said Dr. Eric Chow, director of communicable diseases at Seattle and King County Public Health. “Fortunately, The measles vaccine is very effective. Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provide about 97% protection against getting measles, and this protection lasts a lifetime.”
Locations that may be exposed to the public
The infected person had been in the following public places before being diagnosed with measles. These times include when she was at the location and when she was two hours later. Measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after a person infected with measles leaves the area. Anyone who has been to the following places during the times listed may have been exposed to measles:
|1/18/23||12:26-3:00 noon||Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, South Satellite (Gate B6) to Baggage Claim (Carousel 04)|
|1/20/23||2:00pm – 4:55pm||Providence Swedish First Hill, Emergency Department 700 Minor Ave Seattle WA 98122|
What to do if you are in a location where you may be exposed to measles
Most people in our area are immune to measles through vaccination, so the risk to the public is low. However, anyone who was in a location where they could have been exposed to measles around the times listed should:
- Find out if you have been vaccinated against measles or have had measles before. Make sure you are up to date on the recommended number of measles (MMR) vaccinations.
- Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop an illness such as a fever or an unexplained rash. To avoid potentially spreading measles to others, do not go to a clinic or hospital without first calling and telling them you want to be evaluated for measles.
In some cases, you can be vaccinated or take medicines to prevent illness after exposure – ask your healthcare provider. This is especially important for those at high risk of complications from measles.
If you were at the above locations during the above times and are not immune to measles, your most likely time to be sick is 1/25/2023 to 2/10/2023.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially serious illness that causes fever, rash, cough and red, watery eyes. It is mainly spread through the air after someone with measles coughs or sneezes.
Measles symptoms begin 7 to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from about four days before the rash appears until four days after it appears. People can spread measles before the characteristic measles rash develops.
Measles can cause ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and in rare cases encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Complications from measles can even occur in healthy people, but those at greatest risk include: infants and children under 5 years old, adults over 20 years old, pregnant women, and people whose immune systems have been weakened by medication or an underlying medical condition.
If you belong to one of these high-risk groups and have been exposed to measles at one of these locations, it is important to contact your healthcare provider to discuss the need for treatment to prevent measles infection.
Measles can be prevented with the safe and effective measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two doses of the MMR vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles, and the protection is long-lasting.
For more information on measles and measles vaccination, including where to get the measles vaccine: www.kingcounty.gov/measles
Originally published on January 21, 2023.