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King County investigates first measles case after outbreak in SW Washington

SEATTLE -- Health officials are investigating a case of measles in a King County man who visited Vancouver, Wash., where about two dozen cases have been reported.

According to Public Health Seattle & King County, the man in his 50s was hospitalized but has since been released.

"It is not clear where the man’s infection was acquired, although he reported recent travel to Vancouver, Washington during part of the time he could have been exposed," officials wrote Wednesday in a news release. "Vancouver is in Clark County, where there is a measles outbreak occurring."

Officials said Wednesday evening that lab tests confirmed the man had measles.

“Measles is a highly contagious disease and if you don’t have immunity, you can get it just by being in a room where a person with measles has been,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Fortunately, the measles vaccine is very effective. Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provides over 95% protection against measles and that protection is long lasting.”

Important information from King County health officials:

What to do if you were in a location of potential measles exposure

Most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low. However, anyone who was in the locations of potential exposure to measles around the times listed below should:

Find out if they have been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously, and
Call a health care provider promptly if they develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash between January 16 and February 6, 2019. To avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles.

Locations of potential exposure to measles in King County 

Before he was diagnosed with measles, the infected individual was in the following public locations. These times include the period when the person was at the location and two hours after. Measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area. Anyone who was at the following locations during the times listed could have been exposed to measles:

1/9/19, 7 am-6 pm, Lease Crutcher Lewis Boeing 17-88 Construction Site (2400 Perimeter Rd, Auburn WA, 98001)

1/10/19, 7 am-6 pm Lease Crutcher Lewis Boeing 17-88 Construction Site (2400 Perimeter Rd, Auburn WA, 98001)

1/10/19, 6:30 pm-10:30 pm, Mt Rainier High School vs Kentlake High School basketball game @ Kent Lake High School (21401 SE Falcon Way, Kent, WA 98042)

1/11/19, 7 am-2 pm, Lease Crutcher Lewis Boeing 17-88 Construction Site (2400 Perimeter Rd, Auburn WA, 98001)

1/12/19, 6:30-10:30 pm, Kent Lake High School vs. Tahoma High School basketball game @ Kent Lake High School (21401 SE Falcon Way, Kent, WA 98042)

1/14/19, 09:55 am-12:45 pm, Valley Medical Center- Covington Urgent Care (27500 168th Place SE, Covington, WA 98042)

1/16/19, 10:00 am -12:15 pm, Multicare Covington Hospital Emergency Department (17700 SE 272nd St, Covington, WA 98042)

If you were at the locations at the times listed above and are not immune to measles, the most likely time you would become sick is between January 16 and February 6, 2019.

About measles

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.

Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.

Measles complications can include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and rarely, encephalitis (brain inflammation).

Complications from measles can happen even in healthy people but those at highest risk include: infants and children under 5 years, adults over 20 years, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems from drugs or underlying disease.

SW Washington outbreak

Health officials now say they have confirmed 23 measles cases in Clark County since the beginning of the year. Clark County Public Health said it is also investigating two suspected cases.

Officials say 20 of those infected were not immunized, while the three others are not verified to have had the vaccine.

Eighteen of the cases involve children under 10 years old, four cases involve those from 11 to 18, and one person is between 19 and 29 years old.

Those who are infected have visited public places while contagious, including the Portland International Airport, the Dollar Tree in Vancouver, and several health care facilities and schools.

This was the first time Clark County had a measles case since 2011, according to KPTV.

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