BROOKFIELD, Wis. - A Wisconsin couple faces criminal charges after prosecutors said they knowingly may have exposed the public to measles. Prosecutors said the man's desire to work out may have put people at risk.
Charges were filed against the pair on March 1st.
According to the criminal complaint, on May 1, 2018, a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy pulled over 58-year-old Christine Bennett along Bluemound Road. In the passenger seat of the vehicle was her husband, Jeffery Murawski, 57, who was allegedly infected with measles.
Documents showed officials with the Waukesha County Health Department ordered Murawski to stay at his home 24 hours a day until he was deemed non-contagious. Instead, prosecutors said he admitted "to going inside Gold's Gym to work out," but was only there a few minutes because "he felt very guilty."
"We do know that measles is one of the most contagious diseases around. For an individual that has measles, nine out of every 10 persons in that area will come down with measles if they don't already have protection," said Stephanie Schauer of the Wisconsin Immunization Program.
The Centers for Disease Control's website notes that is why the measles vaccine is so important. 206 cases have already been reported across the U.S. so far in 2019.
Prosecutors said deputies stood guard outside the couple's home during Murawski's quarantine. But he "hid in his wife's vehicle" so law enforcement could not see him. Bennett said she was in on the plan "against her better judgment." Murawski apologized "profusely," saying that "he needed to get out of the house because he was going crazy."
Murawski and Bennett are each charged with one misdemeanor count of communicable disease - protection of the public. They have initial court appearances set for March 25th.