Meredith Li-Vollmer, Public Health – Seattle & King County
Four new cases of measles have been identified, as announced today by the Washington State Department of Health, and two of those cases are in King County residents.
One is a woman in her forties and the other is a woman in her fifties. The other two cases are in residents of Pierce County and Snohomish County.
At this point in the disease investigation, the sources of the infections are unknown. Public Health – Seattle & King County disease investigators are continuing to work with their counterparts at the Washington State Department of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and Snohomish Health District to determine if there were any common connections that could link the illnesses.
Investigators are exploring a possible common exposure at SeaTac Airport. All of the newly announced cases spent time at SeaTac Airport during their likely time of exposure or infectiousness.
“More measles in our communities means more risk of outbreaks among people who don’t have immunity,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Measles vaccine is safe, effective, and offers excellent protection. If you aren’t sure if you’re up to date with the recommended doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR), it’s safe to get one as a precaution.”
What to do if you were in a location of potential measles exposure
Most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low. However, anyone who was in the locations of potential exposure to measles around the times listed below should:
- Find out if you have been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously.
- Call a healthcare provider promptly if you develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash. To avoid possibly spreading measles to others, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles.
- Vaccination or medication can be given after exposure in some cases to prevent illness – check with your healthcare provider. This is especially important for people at high risk for measles complications (see below).
Measles symptoms could appear starting from seven days after the first exposure to twenty-one days after the last exposure to someone with measles. Rash is most likely to appear a few days after the fever, ten to twelve days after an exposure.
Locations of potential exposure to measles in King County
Transmission of measles can occur before people know they have the disease, before any rash appears. Before the measles diagnosis was made, the infected individuals were in the following public locations.
These times include the period when the person was at the location and two hours after. Measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area. Anyone who was at the following locations during the times listed could have been exposed to measles:
|May 6-9||7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.||Issaquah High School (700 2nd Ave SE, Issaquah 98027)|
|May 6||6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.||Coldwell Banker Bain (1151 SW Sammish Rd., Ste. 103, Issaquah 98207)|
|May 7||4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.||Coldwell Banker Bain (1151 SW Sammish Rd., Ste. 103, Issaquah 98207)|
|May 7 – 10||3:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.||SeaTac International Airport, 1st Floor Parking Garage, Orange Elevators, Breezeway over Skybridge 5, Terminal to Baggage claim area|
|May 7||9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.||Third & Broad Business Building (2901 3rd Ave, Seattle 98121)|
|May 7||12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.||Cherry St Coffee (2719 1st Ave Seattle 98121)|
|May 9||5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.||Hops n Drops (4506 Klahanie Dr. SE Issaquah 98029)|
|May 9||9 a.m. – 6 p.m.||Third & Broad Business Building (2901 3rd Ave, Seattle 98121)|
|May 9||11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.||Matt’s in the Market (94 Pike St, Ste. 32 Seattle 98101)|
|May 10||11 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.|
Open House at Hunter’s Ridge (4548 244th PL SE, Issaquah 98029)
|May 12||9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.|
Coldwell Banker Bain (1151 SW Sammish Rd., Ste. 103, Issaquah 98207)
As more locations are identified, this blog post will be updated with the new locations. A list of all measles cases and locations of exposure in King County will be added to kingcounty.gov/measles.
More information about other cases in Washington state is available from the Washington State Department of Health.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.
Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure to someone with measles. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.
Measles complications can include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and rarely, encephalitis (brain inflammation). Complications from measles can happen even in healthy people but those at highest risk include: infants and children under 5 years, adults over 20 years, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems from drugs or underlying disease. If you are in one of these high risk groups and were exposed to measles, be sure to contact your health care provider to discuss the need for treatment to prevent measles infection.
Measles is preventable with the safe and highly effective measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two doses of the MMR vaccine are more than 95 percent effective in preventing measles and that protection is long lasting.
What public health officials are doing
Investigation of infectious diseases is one of the essential services local health departments provide. Public Health – Seattle & King County is working in close coordination with the Washington State Department of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and Snohomish Health District on measles investigations.
Because of increased measles activity nationally, health departments throughout Washington state are also alerting healthcare providers and working with schools and communities to provide education about preventing measles. �
For more information and updates about measles and measles vaccination: kingcounty.gov/measles