As of July 2, The Arizona Department of Health Services is confirming two new cases of measles, bringing the total to 22 cases stemming from a Pinal County outbreak that began May 26 at a private prison near Eloy. In 2015, seven cases of measles were reported in Arizona and three cases were registered in 2014.
What to do if you think you have measles:
If you have a healthcare provider, contact him/her by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. 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.
Public Contact and Medical Questions:
Medical questions should be directed to your health care provider. For outbreak-related questions call 602-839-2275 or visit StoptheSpreadAZ.com.
Measles is a reportable disease in Arizona and should be reported to the local health department. Healthcare providers, schools, and clinical laboratories are required to report cases of measles to the Arizona Department of Health Services within 24 hours (Arizona Administrative Code R9-6-202-204).
What is measles?
Measles is an acute, highly communicable disease caused by the measles virus. Before the routine vaccination program was introduced, measles was a common illness in infants, children and young adults. Because most people have now been vaccinated, measles has become a rare disease in the United States. Cases are typically unvaccinated and have travel history to a country where measles is still commonly spread.
What are the symptoms of measles?
The most prominent symptom of measles is the rash that usually starts on the head and slowly spreads down the rest of the body. Other symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. These symptoms last about a week.
How do people become infected with the measles virus?
Measles transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets and also by airborne spread. Measles virus may survive for up to two hours on environmental surfaces.
Who is at risk for acquiring measles?
Anyone who is not immune from either a previous measles infection or from vaccination can get measles.
Is measles contagious?
Measles is highly contagious. When someone with measles sneezes or coughs they can spray infectious droplets into the air. These droplets can remain suspended in the air for periods as long as two hours until they are breathed in by someone else, or they may fall out of the air and land on various surfaces. Anyone who touches these surfaces after they have become contaminated and then touches their face may become infected.
How is measles diagnosed?
A diagnosis of measles is made by a health care provider and is based on signs and symptoms consistent with measles infection such as rash, fever, and other symptoms. Confirmation of measles requires the detection of measles virus or IgM antibodies from a laboratory specimen such as a nasopharyngeal or throat swab or blood.
What are some of the complications associated with measles?
Measles can be severe, with about 30 percent of reported cases having at least one complication. The most frequent complications are diarrhea (8 percent of cases), middle ear infections (7 percent of cases), and pneumonia (6 percent of cases). Seizures occur in 7 out of every 1,000 measles cases, and one out of every 1,000 cases of measles will develop brain swelling (encephalitis), a severe condition that may result in permanent brain damage. Approximately two out of every 1,000 people with measles will die. The risk of severe complications and death is higher among children younger than five and adults older than 20 years of age.
What is the treatment for measles?
There is no specific treatment for measles. If you think you may have measles, CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FIRST for instructions on what to do. Calling ahead will avoid exposing others. It is very important to stay home and away from others when sick.
What can be done to prevent the spread of measles?
The measles vaccine (MMR) is the best way to prevent measles. Other things people can do to prevent measles and other infections include thoroughly washing hands with soap, teaching children to wash their hands, refrain from sharing eating utensils, and routine disinfection of surfaces that are frequently touched such as toys, doorknobs, tables, and counters.
Information for this article provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services.