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Measles Confirmed in Spokane

April 22, 2015

Media Contact:

Spokane, WA—Local public health officials confirmed a measles infection in a Spokane County adult. Officials are working to identify how the unvaccinated individual was exposed, but there is no indication of recent travel or contact with a known case.

The individual came to Providence Holy Family Hospital Emergency Department on Thursday, April 16, and again on Sunday, April 19.

Most people have immunity, either from prior infection, or from vaccination (which has been required in the United States for the last 50 years), so the risk to the general public is low. However, out of an abundance of caution, Providence is contacting all patients and caregivers who were in the vicinity during the window of time that may have resulted in exposure to measles. Anyone who has not been vaccinated or previously had the measles should contact their health care provider about receiving an MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. In addition, they need to be aware of the symptoms and contact their health care provider at the first sign of the illness.

Any caregiver who is at risk of contracting the disease has been placed on furlough to avoid any potential exposure to others.

The early symptoms of measles often are not specific (fever, cough, runny nose, red/watery eyes) and common to many other conditions such as the common cold, flu virus or an allergic reaction. Not until three to five days after symptoms does a person develop a rash. The individual who came to Holy Family presented with no travel history or exposure to an ill person, in a community that has not seen a case of measles in 21 years. Measles was identified on the second visit. At that time, Holy Family took additional precautionary measures and isolated the patient.

The best protection against measles is to get vaccinated:

  • Children should routinely be vaccinated with two doses of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, with the first dose between 12 and 15 months and the second at four-to-six years.
  • Adults should have at least one measles vaccination, with some people like health care providers needing two.

Most people born before 1957 had measles and are immune.