Clark County is investigating another case of measles. An unvaccinated child returned from an international flight on Thursday, Nov. 14.
Health officials identify the child as between the ages of 1 and 10 years old. The child traveled through Portland International Airport and visited PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver on Nov. 14, and was at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland on Nov. 16.
Dr. Paul Cieslak with the Oregon Health Authority said people should watch for a runny nose, a cough, red eyes, a fever and rash.
“If they were in one of these exposure areas and they have not been vaccinated against measles, that if they develop symptoms like these they should stay home, call their doctor, not drop in on an emergency office or a doctor’s office where they may expose other people,” said Cieslak.
Anyone who's susceptible and was exposed, could develop symptoms from now to Dec. 9.
“This is an unfortunate reminder that measles is only a plane, car, bus or train ride away,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health director and county health officer. “Immunization is the best way to protect yourself and the community from measles.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said getting one dose of the measles vaccine is 93% effective against the disease. Receiving the complete two-dose measles vaccination is 97% effective, according to the CDC. Health practitioners typically prevent measles via the MMR vaccination, which also protects against rubella and mumps.
Some high-risk individuals, who aren't immune, can get just-in-time medicine called immunoglobulin. It is prioritized for infants, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems and must be given within six days of exposure.
“This is a reminder of how important it is to get vaccines up to date before leaving the country,” said Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. “Immunization is one of the best ways to stay well while you travel.”
Clark County had a measles outbreak earlier this year. Seventy-one people were sickened, as public health workers spent months tracking cases.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially serious viral disease. It is spread through the air via coughs and sneezes. A person can spread measles before they show symptoms and the virus can linger in a place after an infectious person has left the area.