Measles case confirmed in Pima County, reminder to parents to vaccinate

Measles case confirmed in Pima County, reminder to parents to vaccinate
Lawmakers discussed measles and vaccines on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pima County Public Health Department announced on Friday, March 8 that a 12-month-old infant from Pima County has been diagnosed with measles.

According to health officials, the confirmed case is in a person with Asia-related travel. Both the PCPHD and ADHS are currently investigating to learn if there was any community exposure to the disease.

“We are working with our healthcare and public health partners to make sure we quickly identify any possible exposures to the community that may have occurred,” said Marcy Flanagan, Director of the Pima County Health Department, in the news release. “As more and more cities and counties across the United States experience cases of vaccine preventable diseases like measles, we are working hard to prevent that from happening in Pima County.”

Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles symptoms appear seven to 12 days after exposure but may take up to 21 days to appear. It begins with fever (101 F or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose and is followed by a rash that is red, raised, and blotchy. The rash begins on the face at the hairline and moves down the body and may last five to six days.

“We know that infectious diseases are just a plane ride away,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said. “Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease that can spread quickly. We recommend that everyone is vaccinated against measles to help keep our communities safe."

Measles can be prevented with the MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination. The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective.

People are immune to measles if they have received two doses of the MMR vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine. Health care providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department.

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/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles.

For information about measles, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services’ website at azhealth.gov/measles.

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