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Measles and What To Do

Health departments are bracing for a measles outbreak in Arizona.     A man in Pinal County, Ariz. and a woman in Phoenix — were linked to a family of four whose measles cases were confirmed last week following travel to Disneyland.  This takes Arizona’s total number of measles cases up to 5, possible exposure of measles to 500, and suggests that now may be the best time to get your measles shot at one of three Yavapai County Community Health Center locations.  If you don’t have insurance or your insurance won’t cover it there may be other options to reduce or completely eliminate the cost.  Please call 928-771-3134 to discuss your situation.   Symptoms:  ·         Typically appear 7-12 days after exposure to measles but may take up to 21 days ·         Begin with fever (101 F or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose ·         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 for 5-6 days and may turn brownish.   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.    You should be protected from measles if you were immunized by getting 2 doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, or if you have previously had the disease. Healthcare providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to the Yavapai County Division of Public Health. The outbreak of measles has reached "a critical point," according to Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. The outbreak has the potential to be far worse than the state's last measles outbreak in 2008, he said. Humble said the number of cases will "absolutely" continue to grow.  "I am certain we will have more just based on the sheer number of people exposed this time," he said. According to the CDC, measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Also, measles virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.  Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears.   According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, if a case of measles is suspected in a child attending a childcare facility or school the following protocol must be followed.  Children - Once you have a suspect case of measles at your facility, all children that cannot demonstrate that they have had the vaccine must be excluded from your facility for 21 days. These children should be encouraged to get vaccinated for measles before they return. If a child has received one dose of MMR vaccine, they should get a second MMR (if it has been 28 days since their first dose), but they do not need to be excluded.  Staff - Once you have a suspect case of measles in your facility, all staff that cannot demonstrate they have had at least one dose of vaccine must be excluded from your facility for 21 days unless they are able to obtain proof of immunity. Staff older than 51 years could return to work if they get a “titer” (blood test) and vaccine at the same time, while waiting for the results of the blood test. If the test is negative, those staff members will again need to be excluded for the rest of the 21 days. Staff younger than 51 are encouraged to accept a dose of vaccine as well as getting a blood test done. If the blood test is positive for measles immunity, they can return to work immediately. Getting an MMR vaccine does not pose additional risks to someone who is already immune to measles.
Advocate: Arizona’s measles outbreak a wake-up call on vaccinations Advocate: Arizona’s measles outbreak a wake-up call on vaccinations

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