The measles virus has gained a lot of interest recently due to the public health crisis in the Pacific Northwest and the increase in cases worldwide. There are no cases of measles in the community, but “because Park City has so many who travel on a regular basis, we want to offer some reminders about the virus,” said Suzanne Tanner, district nurse coordinator.
Measles are common in other parts of the world, including countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Africa. Unvaccinated people who become infected in other countries often bring measles into the United States. The public is reminded that if they travel to areas that have seen an outbreak, please be observant of signs and symptoms of disease. It is important to isolate the ill person, wear a mask and notify your health care provider and school nurse.
According to the Center for Disease Control “measles spread when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It is very contagious. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to two hours after that person is gone. And you can catch measles from an infected person even before they have a
District nurses offer the following reminders:
- Symptoms begin with a fever, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and a cough. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a tell tale red rash breaks out on the head/face spreading down the body.
- Transmission is highly contagious spreading through the air from an infected person to another through coughing and sneezing. Droplets can remain in the air for up to two hours.
- At-risk individuals include infants, people with weakened immunity and unvaccinated individuals. The measles vaccine is 97 percent effective in protecting against the disease, however children do not receive this vaccine until age one.
Tanner said the best way to prevent measles is to immunize. Contact Summit County Health Department for more information, 435-333-1500, or visit the CDC’s website.