State identifies potential measles exposure locations

Published: May. 31, 2016 at 2:33 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 1, 2016 at 10:16 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There are now 11 confirmed cases of measles that stem from an outbreak at the Eloy Detention Center that houses immigr ants, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Four of the those infected are employees of the center. 

All of the cases have been reported in Pinal County, however, the health department is concerned about potential exposures outside Pinal County.

The big concern here in Pima County is how to keep measles, a preventable disease, from coming here. Reportedly, one of those who workers who got the measles had been vaccinated as a child.

The experts say, even though a person is vaccinated, it Is possible for that person to get, what is called, variant measles.

Variant measles is a milder form with fewer complications, but it is still contagious, according to Dr. Sean Elliott, Banner University Medical Center Director for Infection Prevention.

So what should we do if we had measles as children or did have the measles vaccine?

Dr. Elliott said if a person had the disease that's the best protection. Next best is the vaccine.

However, some people were never vaccinated or don't remember if they were vaccinated.

"If one is pretty sure that one was not vaccinated or doesn't remember, the recommendation from Arizona Department of Health Services and here is to go ahead and just get the vaccine. Get the MMR shot. Get it done with," Dr. Elliott said. "If you've had measles or you know that you got the vaccine even as a child there's no recommendation to do anything additional. No new vaccine. No booster. No blood test, etc. unless you are an immuno-compromised patient, somebody on chronic, long-term, immuno-suppressant drugs, like steroids, or somebody who's undergoing chemotherapy treatments or somebody who has a solid organ transplant--a kidney transplant. Those people should talk with their doctor about either being tested or getting a booster vaccine."

"You can get re-immunized. There's no harm to re-vaccinating if you've been vaccinated in the past. It would be a booster phenomenon. But it's also possible to request blood to be drawn from yourself to test for immunity to measles, to mumps and to rubella," Dr. Elliott said.

The state health department has released a list of places, from restaurants to a casino to a church to a high school graduation where people may have been exposed.

Here is, in part, the news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services:

"This is an evolving situation, and given how contagious measles is, public health will continue to update our communities on places of potential exposure," said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "People who have a rash and fever must call their healthcare provider or emergency department before going to let them know they may have measles. This is vital to help stop the further spread of the disease."

Symptoms appear seven to 12 days after exposure but may take up to 21 days. 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. The rash may last five to six days.

Newly identified public exposures:

• Wednesday, May 18, 2016:
o Denny's, 1851 E Florence Blvd Casa Grande, from 2 to 5:30 p.m.
o Wal-Mart Pharmacy, 1741 E Florence Blvd Casa Grande, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

• Thursday, May 19, 2016: Wal-Mart Pharmacy, 1741 E Florence Blvd Casa Grande, from 5 to 8 p.m.

• Daily between May 20, 2016 and May 29, 2016: Circle K, 2382 N Pinal Ave Casa Grande

• Friday, May 20, 2016:
o Safeway, 1449 N Arizona Blvd, Coolidge, from 4 to 7 p.m.
o Golden Corral, 2064 E Florence Blvd, Casa Grande, from 8 to 11 p.m.
o Ross, 1004 N Promenade Pkwy, Casa Grande, from 9 p.m. to midnight
o Walmart, 1741 E Florence Blvd, Casa Grande, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
o Corner Store, 2182 E Florence Blvd, Casa Grande, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

• Friday, May 27, 2016: Cheddars, 2530 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, from 5 to to 9 p.m.

Previously reported public exposures:

• Saturday, May 21, 2016: Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 North Maricopa Road in Maricopa from approximately 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. (May 22).
• Sunday, May 22, 2016: ARCO AM/PM Store, 2245 East Florence Boulevard in Casa Grande from 8:30 to 11 a.m.
• Multiple visits to the Apostolic Assembly - The Faith, 424 E. Frontier Street in Eloy on Sunday May 15 from 1 to 3 p.m., Monday May 16 from 6 to 8 p.m., and Wednesday May 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, May 17, 2016: Villa Oasis High School graduation, 3740 N Toltec Road in Toltec from 6 to 9 p.m.

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. For more information on measles' signs and symptoms or where you may find vaccine, please check with your healthcare provider or your county health department.

You are immune to measles if you have received two measles, mumps, and rubella [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.

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