Arizona residents warned of potential exposure to measles

On May 1, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pima County Public Health Department announced that an out-of-state visitor with measles traveled to Tucson between April 17 through 29 and may have exposed the public to the disease.

The person was potentially contagious and may have exposed the public on Monday, April 29, 2019, at the Tucson International Airport, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.

In March, officials confirmed a one-year-old in Tucson had been diagnosed with measles. The infant had recently traveled to Asia.

“Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease that can spread quickly, so if you or your child are not vaccinated against the disease and you were at the Tucson International Airport, there is a risk of getting measles,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “If you develop signs of measles, including high fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, or a rash, stay home and call your healthcare provider so you can schedule a time to be seen. 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 or urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles.”

Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles symptoms appear seven to 12 days after exposure but may take up to 21 days to appear. It begins with fever (101 F or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose and is followed by a rash that is red, raised, and blotchy. The rash begins on the face at the hairline and moves down the body and may last five to six days.

 

Measles can be prevented with the MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. The CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination. The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective.

Officials advised that people are immune to measles if you have received two doses of the MMR vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine. Health care providers are required to report suspected cases of measles to their local health department.

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