Measles outbreak in Phoenix puts Tucson on alert

2014-04-10T15:32:00Z 2014-04-10T16:03:11Z Measles outbreak in Phoenix puts Tucson on alertStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Pima County health officials are closely watching the investigation into a measles case confirmed in an an unvaccinated traveler to Phoenix.

The unvaccinated individual, who had returned from Europe, may have exposed others at several public locations in Phoenix, including the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

"Measles is highly-contagious, but it is also very preventable," said Dr. Francisco García, director and chief medical officer for the Pima County Health Department.

"Vaccines are the best prevention against such diseases. Not only do immunizations protect you and your family members, but as we have seen in this case in Maricopa County, it also helps to ensures that the rest of the community is protected."

Local residents concerned about this situation or who are interested in how to get vaccinated are encouraged to contact the local health department at 243.7797.

Public locations of where and when people may have been exposed:

· March 29 - Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4; 6:30pm until 10:00pm

· March 30 - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Cave Creek Chapel, 38008 N. Basin Rd in Cave Creek (Cave Creek, Desert Ridge and Pinnacle Peak Wards); 1 pm until 5 pm

· March 31st- Wildflower Bread Company, 15640 N. Hayden Rd in Scottsdale; 12:00pm until 5pm

· March 31st- Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4; 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The U.S. typically had 400 to 500 deaths from measles per year before 1963 and virtually every child became infected, vaccine experts and officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control say.

Vaccines have drastically reduced the numbers in the U.S.  But last year there were 175 cases of measles in the U.S., which was a 192 percent increase over the previous year. Federal officials are concerned that clusters of unvaccinated children are fueling oubreaks.

The measles virus can survive in the air for hours and may be transmitted to susceptible individuals even after an infected individual is no longer in the room/area.

You may be protected from measles if you were immunized for measles or if you have previously had the disease. Healthcare providers are required to report suspect cases of measles.

Symptoms:

· Typically appear 7-12 days after exposure to measles but may take up to 21 days

· Begin with fever (101 F or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose

· Followed by a rash that is red, raised, and blotchy.The rash begins on the face at the hairline and moves down the body.The rash may last for 5-6 days and may turn brownish.

What to do if you think you have measles:

· If you have a healthcare provider, contact him/her by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.

· If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

Stephanie Innes brings you the latest health information. Contact her at sinnes@tucson.com

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