An additional four people have been confirmed to have measles in Nampa, Idaho. All are children that were unvaccinated and were exposed in the household of the initial measles patient announced by public health officials Sept. 20.
“We are concerned to see this spread, but not surprised,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, Idaho state epidemiologist and medical director for the Division of Public Health at the Department of Health and Welfare. “Measles is very infectious. We are hopeful that this disease does not spread more widely in the community.”
If you’ve been exposed to measles, you should call your healthcare provider and monitor for symptoms for 21 days after exposure.
Measles symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and rash. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age. Serious complications can include encephalitis, pneumonia, and rarely, death. There is no specific treatment for measles. People experiencing symptoms of measles should contact their healthcare provider and should not go into clinics, pharmacies, or other healthcare settings without calling ahead so the facility can make preparations to reduce the chance of spread.
“We are again reminding everyone that the best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization with the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, which protects against all three diseases,” said Ricky Bowman, epidemiology program manager with Southwest District Health. “Do not rely on other people’s immunizations to protect you. The best protection is to get yourself and your children immunized.”
The MMR vaccine is available at many pharmacies and healthcare providers’ offices. Children should receive their first dose of the vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age and a booster shot at 4 to 6 years of age. The MMR vaccine is generally first given at 12 months of age in the United States but is sometimes recommended for children as young as 6 months who are traveling outside the United States or who could be infected in an outbreak.
Monitoring of people who may have been exposed is ongoing, and people who may have been exposed are being notified by Southwest District Health and other local health districts. However, it remains possible that some people who were exposed briefly would not have been identified by public health officials.
For more information on measles, visit www.cdc.gov/measles.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.
Southwest District Health is one of seven public health districts throughout Idaho established to protect and promote the health and wellness of those who live, work, and play in our region. We proudly serve Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington Counties. We work in partnership with our community to identify health needs, design solutions, and implement services that encourage behaviors contributing to healthier, longer lives. Learn more at swdh.org.