A teenager who had traveled to Arizona was diagnosed with measles in Soldotna/Kenai this week. The teen, who had not had vaccinations, tested positive for the virus, and may have been infectious while in public locations in Soldotna between July 8-14:
Public health officials believe there is potential for wider community exposure for those who have not been immunized.
WHAT TO DO
Most people in Alaska have been vaccinated, so the risk to the general public is low, according to the State Department of Health and Social Services. However, anyone who was in a location of potential exposure to measles around the times listed should:
- Find out if you have been vaccinated for measles or have evidence of immunity to measles previously.
- Call a healthcare provider promptly if you develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash. To avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles.
Measles symptoms could appear starting from seven days after the first exposure to twenty-one days after the last exposure. Rash is most likely to appear ten to twelve days after an exposure. For more information about measles and measles vaccination visit the State’s information page here.
Measles is a highly infectious viral respiratory disease that spreads via the airborne route and through direct contact with respiratory secretions — coughing, sneezing, etc. Measles typically starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that most frequently starts on the face and descends to involve the trunk and limbs. About 30 percent of people who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. More serious complications, including death, can occur. Complications are more common in adults and young children.
Incubation Period: Symptoms typically start to appear 8–12 days (range: 7–21 days) after exposure, with rash onset typically occurring at 14 days
Infectious Period: 4 days before rash onset through 4 days after rash onset.
According to the CDC, the first written accounts of the disease were made by a Persian doctor in the 9th Century.
In the decade before 1963, when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were teenagers. About 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year, and 400 to 500 people died from the disease annually, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) as a result of the virus.