Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and Public Health – Seattle & King County are investigating a measles case with possible exposures in both counties.
The Pierce County resident, a man in his 40s, spent time at sites in Pierce and King counties while contagious. The man was not hospitalized and is recovering at home.
He was not exposed to the most recent case in King County while that person was contagious; the source of infection for the Pierce County resident is unknown.
“Measles is a cause for serious concern for anyone who does not have immunity,” said Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “We urge those people to determine if they were at any of the locations where they may have been exposed to measles. Children and adults who are up-to-date with their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations are very well protected and not considered at risk, even at places of possible exposure to measles,” Chen said.
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 they 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 between May 13-31. To avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles.
Locations of potential exposure to measles in Pierce and 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 individual was 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:
Date, time, location
• May 6-10, 5:30-8 a.m., Sea-Tac International Airport. Main parking garage 8th floor, far southern garage elevator, 4th level breezeway to escalator, terminal to baggage claim area
• May 6-10, 2-5 p.m., Sea-Tac International Airport. Baggage claim area to escalator, 4th level breezeway, far southern garage elevator, 8th floor parking garage
• May 6, 5-7:15 p.m., Orting Transmission, 130 Corrin Court NW., Orting
• May 6, 6-10 p.m., Orting High School, Orting City Planning Meeting, 320 Washington Ave. N. Orting.
• May 7, 5-8 p.m., Orting Transmission 130 Corrin Ct. NW., Orting
• May 7, 7:30-10 p.m., Orting High School, Orting Junior Dance Team Banquet, 320 Washington Ave. N. Orting
• May 9, 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Sea-Tac International Airport. General area around gate A10 of Sea-Tac Airport
• May 9, 4-7:30 p.m., Discount Tire, 19815 S. Prairie Road E., Bonney Lake.
• May 9, 6-9:30 p.m., Skookum Archery, 11209 Shaw Road E., Puyallup.
• May 10, 6:30-8:40 a.m., 76 Gas Station Market, 2841 S 188th St., SeaTac
• May 10, 3:15-5:45 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m., Orting Transmission, 130 Corrin Court NW., Orting
• May 11, 8-10:30 a.m., Sound Family Medicine Bonney Lake Walk-in Clinic, 10004 204 Ave., Bonney Lake.
If you were at the locations at the times listed above and are not immune to measles, the most likely time you would become sick is between May 13-31.
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. 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.
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. For this case, Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department is leading the investigation. Public Health – Seattle & King County will work in close coordination with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, with each jurisdiction following up with any of their affected residents.
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.
“Public health works across county lines to protect our communities from the spread of dangerous diseases,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “This measles case serves as a reminder that our region’s health and safety depend on a coordinated public health system,” said Duchin.