Measles case reported in Utah for first time since 2017

Posted at 1:47 PM, Mar 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-23 23:27:33-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — A Salt Lake County resident who recently traveled out of the country is confirmed to have contracted a case of measles, health officials reported Thursday. It's the first reported case of measles in Utah since 2017.

The Salt Lake County Health Department reported the resident was not vaccinated against the disease. Where the individual traveled, as well as their age and gender were not made available by the health department.

The current measles case was reported Wednesday and an investigation was immediately initiated.

The last time a case of measles made its way to the state was in 2017 and involved an individual who also traveled outside of the country but who had received all of their vaccinations, health officials reported.

Before the case in 2017, the last reported case was in 2011.

Experts reassure that there is minimal risk of illness in the case and exposure has been limited to health care settings and the person's family members.

They also remind that measles is a vaccine-preventable disease and encourage everyone to get the shots, which come in two doses.

"While over 90 percent of children in Utah schools and childcare facilities are adequately vaccinated, there are still people in our community who are not protected,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, SLCoHD executive director in a release. “Being fully vaccinated against measles does more than just protect the person who receives the vaccination; it also protects their family and friends, including children who may be too young to be vaccinated, and it helps limit the spread of disease in the community.”

Symptoms of measles include a fever of 101 degrees or higher, cough, runny nose, red or watery eyes and a rash that begins on the face before spreading to the entire body.

Measles was declared eradicated in the United States more than two decades ago but travel-acquired illness can still cause outbreaks within the country as it remains a common sickness in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.