PA Department of Health Advisory: Possible Measles Exposures in Bucks, Lancaster Counties
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is conducting an ongoing investigation of suspected cases of measles in Bucks County with a possible link to Lancaster County.
On April 19, people in certain Lancaster County locations may have been exposed to contagious individuals at the following locations and times:
- Tanger Outlet Center, Lancaster County, 11 a.m. – noon.
- Bird in Hand Bake Shop, Lancaster County, 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Riehl’s Quilts and Crafts, Lancaster County, 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Lapp’s Wooden Toys, Lancaster County, 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Most people in the United States are immune to measles, either because they received the Measles Mumps Rubella, (known as the MMR) vaccine in childhood, or because they were exposed to measles in the pre-vaccine era.
However, the following groups of individuals are at risk of becoming infected with measles:
- Infants less than one year of age because they are too young to receive the MMR vaccine;
- Persons who were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used from 1963 through 1967, and have never been revaccinated;
- Persons born after 1957 who have only received one dose of MMR vaccine;
- Those who refused vaccination; and
- Those from parts of the world where there is low-vaccination coverage or circulating measles.
If you or your children are at risk for measles and become ill with the symptoms of this disease (see below) one to two weeks after possible exposure, you should tell your health care provider that you’ve been exposed to measles so that precautions can be taken to avoid exposing anyone else.
Any health care provider who suspects measles should immediately call their local health department or the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH for consultation and to arrange testing.
Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus. Symptoms begin one to two weeks after exposure and include a runny nose, watery eyes, cough and a high fever. After four days, a raised, red rash starts to spread on the face, down the body and out to the arms and legs. The rash usually lasts four to seven days. An individual with measles can spread the virus to others for four days before and four days after the rash begins. It is spread during sneezing or coughing, by touching contaminated objects, and by direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. Infected droplets and secretions can remain contagious on surfaces for up to two hours.
Complications from measles can include ear infection, diarrhea and pneumonia, encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and even death. Measles can also cause miscarriages or premature delivery in pregnant women.
The MMR vaccine is given to toddlers when they are 12 to 15 months of age, and a second dose is required for all Pennsylvania school children. However, individuals who have received only one dose of the vaccine, instead of the recommended two doses, may still be at risk of infection with this virus. The MMR vaccine can help prevent infection if it is given within three days of exposure. There is no risk in getting an additional dose of the MMR vaccine for individuals who may have already received it.
If you are not immune to measles and want to receive MMR ask your health care provider or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
For more information about measles, visit http://www.health.state.pa.us/pdf/epi/MeaslesFactSheet.pdf.
Media contact: Brandi Hunter-Davenport, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health