TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Nearly 50 people from Gooding County were likely exposed to the measles virus in April while traveling to Seattle.
South Central Public Health District said in a news release a team of nurses and epidemiologists inspected all of the patients on Thursday and confirmed that none are currently showing symptoms of the disease.
“The best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization,” Cheryle Becker, SCPHD Public Health division administrator. “By the time you start showing symptoms it is too late to vaccinate. That’s why we urge families to immunize before an outbreak hits their community.”
SCPHD will continue to monitor the group for symptoms until May 18th to ensure they have not caught the disease. In the meantime, the health district urges residents to check their immunization records and confirm they are protected against measles with two MMR vaccines.
Unvaccinated individuals 1 year and older should receive a measles vaccination to protect themselves and those around them.
Becker said measles is a highly contagious viral disease.
“A small number of cases are capable of quickly producing epidemics,” Becker said. “It only takes one infected patient to start an outbreak.”
Brianna Bodily, the district's public information officer, said the group was exposed to the measles virus when they visited a Seattle venue at the same time a person who has since tested positive for the virus.
She said investigators began alerting people they believed may have come in contact with the infected person. Investigators then contacted Idaho Health and Welfare about the Gooding group to investigate.
The health district said symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, and eye discharge followed by a fever and rash. If you are showing symptoms, and know you’ve been exposed to the disease, it is important you limit your exposure to other people so you don’t spread the disease. The public is advised to call their health provider immediately and tell them if they are showing symptoms and may have been exposed.
Children should receive their first dose of measles vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age; another dose at 4-6 years of age. Measles/mumps/rubella (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 of age who are traveling outside the United States or could be infected in an outbreak.
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of the story the headline said tested. The patients were not tested they were inspected. The headline has since been updated.