UPDATE – Health Officials Announce Measles Exposure in Lancaster and Philadelphia Counties
HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health are advising the public of exposure to a case of measles in Lancaster and Philadelphia counties.
An international traveler visiting Pennsylvania has been diagnosed as having measles. He may have exposed other people to the disease while contagious at the following dates, times and locations:
- Aug. 14, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Greyhound Bus Lines station, 1001 Filbert St.
- Aug. 14, 5 p.m. to Aug. 17, 5:30 p.m., Philadelphia-Historic District Holiday Inn, 400 Arch St.
- Aug. 15, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Ride the Ducks Duck Boat Tour (Zone 1), beginning at 6th and Chestnut Sts.
- Aug. 16, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., 30th St. Station, 2955 Market St.
- The individual departed on the Amtrak Keystone Line Train #643 to Lancaster, Pa.
- Aug. 17, 1:30- 5 p.m., 30th St. Station, 2955 Market St.
- The individual departed on the Amtrak Northeast Regional Train #171 to Manassas, Va.
- Aug. 16, 12:06 – 3:30 p.m. and 5:40-9:10 p.m., Lancaster Amtrak stop, 53 McGovern Ave., Lancaster, Pa.
- The individual arrived via the Amtrak Keystone Line Train #643 from Philadelphia, Pa., which then went on to Harrisburg, Pa.; he left on a 6:10 p.m. train, Keystone Service # 656, to Philadelphia, Pa. which then went on to New York City. Persons riding between Lancaster and Harrisburg or between Philadelphia and New York City might also have been exposed to the measles virus that could remain in the air inside the train.
- Aug. 16, 2:30 – 7 p.m. at the following locations:
- Amish Experience at Plain and Fancy Farm, 3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
- Glick’s Roadside Stand, 248A Monterey Road, Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
- Riehl’s Farm/Quilt Shop, 247 E. Eby Road, Leola, Pa.
Based on the dates of exposure in Pennsylvania, it is possible that symptoms could develop as late as Sept. 7 if individuals were infected during the timeframes mentioned above.
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.
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.
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 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 low circulating measles.
If you or your children are at risk for measles and become ill with symptoms one to two weeks after possible exposure, you should contact your health care provider immediately and tell them that you’ve been exposed to measles so that precautions can be taken to avoid exposing anyone else and the cause of illness can be determined.
Health care providers who treat patients with a suspected case of measles should immediately call their local health department and/or the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (877-724-3258) for consultation and to arrange testing.
For more information about measles, visit http://www.health.state.pa.us/pdf/epi/MeaslesFactSheet.pdf. Anyone who is not immune to measles and is interested in receiving MMR should ask their health care provider or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Christine Cronkright or Brandi Hunter-Davenport, Pa. Department of Health; 717-787-1783
Jeff Moran, Philadelphia Department of Public Health; 215-686-5244
Editor’s Note: This version amends previously reported information about the traveler’s return trip to Philadelphia from Lancaster. It now includes an additional trip via Amtrak.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health