Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has confirmed three related cases of measles in the county. One case is an adult and the other two are in minors. One case was hospitalized. All three are unvaccinated, and they are all recovering.
MCDPH is conducting case investigations and contact tracing on all three cases. “We are working diligently with the cases and their healthcare providers to identify any potential exposures and notify people who were exposed promptly,” said Dr. Nick Staab, medical epidemiologist at MCDPH. “The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to get vaccinated against measles if you have not already been vaccinated.”
Measles can linger in the air for up to two hours, and approximately 90% of unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to measles will become infected. It is preventable with two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, typically given during childhood. Adults need at least one dose of MMR vaccine given after the age of one. Individuals born before 1957 or who had measles as a child are considered immune.
Anyone who may have been exposed should watch for symptoms, which appear typically seven to 12 days after exposure but may take up to 21 days. Symptoms include:
- Fever (101 F or higher)
- Red, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- A non-itchy rash that is red, raised, and blotchy. The rash begins after other symptoms, usually on the face at the hairline, and moves down the body. The rash may last five to six days.
Individuals who develop symptoms are encouraged to seek medical care and testing and avoid others. They should call the provider ahead to let them know about symptoms and potential exposure before going in. The provider or facility will provide instructions on how to be seen without exposing others in the waiting area. Individuals who do not have a healthcare provider can find a federally-qualified community health center or a provider at FindHelpPhx.org.
MCDPH is encouraging healthcare providers to be on the lookout for fever and rash among unvaccinated patients, especially if they have a known exposure. Health care providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department.
“Measles is both highly contagious and preventable,” said Dr. Staab. “It can be a severe illness, so we strongly encourage anyone who has not been vaccinated to get vaccinated to prevent further spread.”