The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed four additional cases of measles on Maui and Kauai, bringing the total number of confirmed measles cases in these two separate clusters in Hawaii to seven.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

“We are very concerned. These additional cases are an example of how contagious this disease is and how quickly it can spread,” said Dr. Sarah Y. Park, state epidemiologist. “However, we also want to reassure the public that DOH staff continue to work closely with healthcare providers and facilities as well as CDC’s Honolulu Quarantine Station to identify and notify all persons who may have been exposed, to make sure they have appropriate monitoring or treatment as needed.”

Measles is so contagious that it will infect 90 percent of the contacts who are not immune. The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated. “We are asking everyone to check their immunization status and contact their healthcare provider if they need to be vaccinated,” said Ronald Balajadia, Immunization Branch chief. “Although not routinely recommended for children under 12 months of age, infants aged 6-11 months travelling internationally to areas with active measles transmission should be vaccinated. Talk to your child’s doctor before you travel.”

Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Other symptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.

The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infectedinclude; seizurespneumonia, deafness and encephalitis. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

This year the United States is experiencing a record number of measles cases. From January 1 to August 29, there have been 592 confirmed measles cases reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the highest number of cases since measles eliminationwas documented in the U.S. in 2000.