Reports of a suspect measles case in Anchorage, Alaska is likely a “false positive”, according to health officials.
In a Twitter post on the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) official page they tweeted: On suspected AK measles: child rec’d measles vax on 1/13, can cause PCR test to be positive. Thus high potential not a true case of measles.
In a DHSS alert, health officials say a nasopharyngeal swab was obtained on January 21, and tested positive via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for measles virus on January 23. However, the child had received measles vaccine on January 13, which can cause the PCR test to be positive (and can cause a mild febrile illness). Thus, there is a high potential that this was not a true case of measles.
Additional testing is being performed to determine if this positive PCR result was caused by the vaccination; the results of this additional testing should be available late next week. Measles can be a serious illness, especially for high-risk persons (i.e., infants, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons). As such, out of an abundance of caution, the Alaska Section of Epidemiology is notifying high-risk persons who were in close contact to this infant and might be eligible for post-exposure prophylaxis. No further public health action is currently indicated due to the low likelihood of this being a true measles case.
The 1-year-old girl traveled to San Diego and Las Vegas (but NOT Disneyland) from December 31 through January 12, developed a mild febrile illness on January 15, 3 days after returning to Alaska. The child then developed a rash on January 16 on the right lower extremity. At this point her pediatrician collected the sample for measles testing.
For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page