Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Health officials alert possible measles exposures in King County

Public Health – Seattle & King County has confirmed measles infection in an adult who could have exposed others to the disease.

The sickened person was in multiple locations in Bellevue, Seattle and Woodinville between June 27 and July 2 while infectious, and before being diagnosed, posing a public health risk. “Measles is a very contagious infection and if you don’t have immunity, you can get it just by being in a room where a person with measles has been,” Dr. Eric Chow, communicable disease chief for Public Health – Seattle & King County, stated in a news release.

“We’ve seen an increase in measles cases around the world and in the U.S. so it’s an important time to check your vaccination status and get vaccinated if you aren’t protected,” Chow stated. Vaccination is especially important if you are planning to travel. The person infected with measles had just returned from an international trip.

Measles vaccine is very effective and two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine provides about 97% protection that lasts lifelong, Chow noted.

Measles can remain in the air up to two hours after an infected person leaves the area. Anyone who was at these locations during these dates and times could have been exposed to measles:

● June 27: 3:30-4 p.m. at Vasa Park Resort, 3560 West Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Bellevue.

● June 28: 7-11:20 p.m. at PRO Club Bellevue, 4455 148th Ave. N.E., Bellevue.

● June 29: 6:30-9:45 p.m. at Café Turko, 750 N. 34th St., Seattle. 

● July 1: 7:20-9:45 p.m. at ZoomCare, 17705 140th Ave. N.E. No. A18, Woodinville.

● July 2: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at ZoomCare, 17705 140th Ave. N.E. No. A18, Woodinville.

There is no ongoing risk of infection at these locations. But if you could have been exposed, find out if you have been vaccinated for measles or had the disease previously. If you become ill with a fever or unexplained rash, see a health care provider quickly. But to avoid spreading measles to others, do not go to a clinic or hospital without first calling to tell them you want to be checked for measles and may have been exposed. Sometimes vaccination or medication can be given even after exposure to prevent illness.

Don’t take measles lightly: Measles is a very contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, runny nose and red watery eyes. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. It can lead to ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and even brain inflammation, in rare cases. Complications can occur in healthy people, but those at highest risk are infants and children under 5, adults over 20, pregnant people and people with weakened immune systems from medications or underlying diseases.

The best protection is vaccination.

Local public health officials confirmed the first measles case of the year in a King County resident last month. The infected child was not vaccinated with the MMR shot and had traveled internationally.

Most people in the region have immunity through vaccination, so the risk of catching measles to the general public is still low. However, since the pandemic began, vaccination coverage rates among King County kindergartners have dropped, to 92% in the 2023-24 school year from 94% in the 2021-22 school year. Some schools have vaccination rates as low as 36%, according to Chow.

Material from Seattle Times archives was used in this report.

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