Doctor, epidemiologist talk procedures in event of measles outbreak

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Measles has been in the news plenty recently, with multiple outbreaks occurring. KMVT decided to see just how Twin Falls is prepared if an outbreak occurs here.

An epidemiologist with the South Central Public Health District, Tanis Maxwell was recently in Vancouver, Washington, helping them fight the on-going measles outbreak, and knows how to handle one.

"We look at the vaccination status as we did in Washington, and ensuring that those individuals who are protected from exposures, or to make sure that they were followed after an exposure,” Maxwell explained.

St. Luke’s family medicine doctor Steven Kohtz explained what their procedures are.

"Unlike a lot of viruses, measles actually tends to stay alive in the air for a long time, up to 2 hours. And in fact if we suspect a case of measles, we actually have to close down the exam room that the patient was in, for a full two hours before we can let someone else in,” Kohtz stated.

Kohtz also explained that it’s a community effort keeping the community healthy.

"Our South Central Public Health District has really been preparing schools, community members and working with us to be prepared for a possible measles outbreak in this area,” Kohtz said.

Maxwell said there's one way to ensure southern Idaho stays healthy.

"The best prevention against measles is the vaccine. Children should have one when they turn 12 months to 15 months of age, and a second one when they're 4 to 6 years old. Adults should be vaccinated as well,” Maxwell explained.

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