Salt Lake Co. Health Dept. confirms first measles case since 2011

Posted at 2:26 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 23:03:20-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Public health officials from the Salt Lake County Health Department are investigating the county's first case of measles since 2011.

According to the health department, the resident with measles traveled outside of the United States and has received all appropriate vaccinations. People from Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties who may have been in contact with the infected resident have been notified by their local health departments and encouraged to receive any necessary vaccinations.

"While over 90 percent of children in Utah schools and childcare facilities are adequately vaccinated, there are still children who are not protected,” Dr. Dagmar Vitek, SLCoHD medical director said in a statement sent to FOX 13. “And while measles is not widespread in the U.S., cases can occur when unvaccinated—and in rare cases like this one, vaccinated – people visit other countries where measles is more prevalent. Once an infected person comes into a community, it quickly spreads to those who have not been vaccinated.”

According to the health department, symptoms of measles include a fever of 101 F or higher, cough, runny nose and a rash that spreads to cover the body. The rash usually occurs within two weeks of exposure. Other potential complications include ear infections, pneumonia, miscarriage and, in rare cases, death.

"If you develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider and let them know you may have the measles. It is important that you do not visit a physician’s office, emergency room, lab or any medical clinic without first calling the facility and informing them of your exposure to measles. This will enable the facility to take the necessary precautions to protect other individuals from possible exposure," the health department wrote in the statement.

Measles is transmitted by respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, and is so contagious that over 90 percent of people in close contact with an infectious person will get the disease if they're not immunized.

Measles vaccine has been commonly used for more than 50 years and can safely and effectively prevent the disease, the health department said.