Alaska life hack: Measles in Kenai


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.


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.


  1. Assuming this kid traveled via commercial airline to/from Arizona, had he/she been in the infectious stage on an aircraft, this could have been an opportunity to really spread a terrible disease. People: Please get vaccinated.

  2. While bum camps and associated filth are officially allowed and encouraged to proliferate in Anchorage, measles doesn’t seem like a big deal.
    Sure measles is good for crisis press, maybe more laws and extra money because it affects people who are cute and cuddly and look like us and have insurance.
    But compared to the witch’s brew festering in bum camps, seeping into Anchorage’s water table, and spreading into public-park spaces, the measles crisis might have to wait its turn.

      • He has no point and further, measles has a very simple solution where-as homelessness does not.

        • Homelessness has a very simple cure, get a home…homelessness cured. The causes that lead to homelessness on the other hand, not a simple solution since the causes are all over the map. However the most prominent cause being drug and alcohol addiction we know where to start.

          • Bill,

            Another fail on your part.

            If you have a home you are by definition not homeless. Why do you think the good mayor is putting so many people into homes? It makes them not homeless.

          • Bill Yankee,

            Hard fail, you can’t answer an easy question without acting like a child. Stop stalking me Bill, stop replying to my comments if you cannot act like a man, stop failing so hard at such an easy thing.

          • Four-flusher, in case you hadn’t noticed it was you who started this stalk. But welcome aboard and tough noogies!

  3. I was the first case of measles on the Peninsula in 36 years. I was in the hospital in isolation for 5 days. Measles is very serious. Please get vaccinated.

  4. I have not heard of a measles case *in* Kenai. At least not yet.

    This is in Soldotna, *on* The KP.

    Just to pick nits. 😉

  5. How about we all stop the fear mongering? Every single one of you has had roseola which is ALSO a common, benign childhood illness – but actually carries greater risk of more severe adverse effects than measles … yet crickets? I wonder if that might have anything to do with the fact there is no vaccine for roseola? Take your vitamin A and stop the drama. The World Health Organization has a fantastic protocol for those who want to prevent or treat measles. Vitamin A and chill guys. Eat your Salmon.

  6. You guys realize the only strain of measles that people are being vaccinated for (our of the 24 different types recognized by the WHO) is the genotype A strain which is (as per the CDC) no longer circulating in the wild. Meaning it can ONLY be found in the vaccine. So….vaccinate against a strain that is not being spread in the wild but is only being spread by people who have been vaccinated for it and are shedding it to the immunity compromised. ??Brilliant.?

  7. Yes, please, get uselessly vaccinated for a measles strain that is no longer found in the wild according to the WHO and CDC. There are 24 different strains of measles and the only one the vaccinate for is the genotype A strain….which the CDC says is no longer found in the wild. Meaning it is only found in the vaccine. So the people spreading the disease aren’t the ones NOT carrying the disease, but the ones who were vaccinated, are carrying it, and are shedding onto people whose immunities are compromised. Brilliant!???.

    • Your comment is a good example of why half-truths are the most dangerous kind. They have just a kernel of truth so that they sound correct, but mislead the uninformed into false confidence. I suspect that you are not an immunologist, not a clinical researcher, not a physician, and got your information from the internet. I am a physician, have several peer-reviewed journal article publications, and practice on the Kenai, and I can tell you that after going to the “24th grade”, and spending long hours studying this issue, that these ideas are incorrect. Vitamin A won’t protect you from measles, and the falsely informed opinions mentioned here will harm people in our community. Please try to have some humility and realize that you are not an expert and that people who are, and have dedicated their lives to trying to help you medically are in agreement here.
      From the CDC: “When an unvaccinated person gets measles, wild-type measles virus causes the infection. Scientists divide wild-type measles viruses into genetic groups called genotypes. Of 24 known genotypes, the World Health Organization (WHO) lists 5 genotypes that are known to currently circulate and are most commonly seen: B3, D4, D8, D9, and H1. MMR vaccine protects you against all types of measles”.
      Measles usually doesn’t cause life threats for most people, this is true, but it IS highly infectious and does kill. In the developing world, it is a feared illness.
      From CDC: “Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States, of which 500,000 were reported. Among reported cases, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.”

      • Wonder if you’ve seen “Failure to Reach the Goal of Measles Elimination: Apparent Paradox of Measles Infections in Immunized Persons.”, Poland & Jacobson (1994), what your opinion might be…
        Paradox seems to be general immune suppression concurrent with immune activation against particular strain(s) of measles.
        Poland mentioned a two-dose strategy as a possible option, but apparently no efficacy study followed.

        • Hi there,
          I had not read that study previously, but after reading it, my understanding is that at that time, they were concerned with single-dose failures to produce immunity and an increase in cases during the 1980’s in people who had received the single dose vaccine of that era. Single dose immunity after MMR is about 93% and after the second dose that we now have been using since the time of that article the efficacy is approximately 97%. Herd immunity protects the roughly 3% who cannot develop immunity by keeping the incidence of disease very low, so that the unprotected individuals who have received the vaccines, or those who have a legitimate contraindication to immunization ( such as severe allergy) have a low risk of exposure. Quite a few efficacy studies have actually happened subsequently. If you are interested in learning more about this from a bit more in depth perspective, I’d start with
          I hope that answers what you were asking.

          • Thanx for the information.
            No doubt you saw the potential ambush: “…measles can be severe and prolonged among immunocompromised persons, particularly those who have leukemias, lymphomas, or HIV infection… Among these… measles can occur without the typical rash and a patient can shed measles virus for several weeks after the acute illness”.
            Good luck in your work. Your handle suggests you been there and done that…

  8. Im happy for that kid in Soldotna! He’ll be 100% immune from measles for the rest of his life (or hers). And if its a girl, maybe someday she will also convey immunity to her children through her breastmilk while they are still too young to receive the vaccine! Is it too late for me to share a popscicle with this lucky lad or lassy? I’d love to get me some measles!

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