PORTLAND – An infant with measles traveled through the Portland International Airport last Monday night, according to the Multnomah County Health Department.
Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus. It is spread through the air after a person who is sick with measles coughs or sneezes.
The baby was diagnosed with the potentially deadly illness after traveling through the airport. Most people have been vaccinated against measles, so the risk to the general public is low.
“Measles is a serious disease that was eliminated from circulation in the United States thanks to routine childhood vaccination,’’ said Dr. Jennifer Vines, Deputy Health Officer for Multnomah County. The health department is working directly with the child’s primary care clinic to make sure patients were notified of the exposure and will receive the appropriate follow-up care, if needed.
Health officials warned that anyone who visited the Portland International Airport on Monday, March 24, between 7:45 p.m. and 10 p.m., should watch for symptoms between now and April 14. Measles poses the highest risk to people who have not been vaccinated, especially pregnant women, infants under 12 months, and people with weakened immune systems.
• The symptoms of measles start with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes followed by a red rash that begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
• People are contagious with measles for four days before the rash appears and up to four days after the rash starts.
• After someone is exposed, illness usually develops in seven to 14 days. In rare cases, it can take up to up to 28 days for symptoms to occur. For this particular situation, public health officials would expect the onset of symptoms in newly infected people by April 25, 2014 at the latest.
• Anyone who believes they have symptoms of measles should first contact their health care provider or urgent care by telephone to avoid exposing others.
• Despite its elimination from the U.S., measles continues to be common in many other parts of the world and we continue to see imported cases. "Because measles is so contagious, high levels of immunity in the community are needed to prevent its spread.”
Anyone with questions about measles infection or the measles vaccine should contact their primary care provider or their local county health department:
Clackamas County Public Health 503-655-8411
Clark County Public Health 360-397-8182
Multnomah County Public Health 503-988-3406
Washington County Public Health 503-846-3594