Local public-health officials confirmed on Wednesday evening two cases of measles in travelers from out of state.
The two cases were an adult and a child, siblings visiting from California. Public Health – Seattle & King County officials believe they contracted measles outside of Washington. The cases confirmed Wednesday are unrelated to a measles case in a traveler to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in early July.
Before their measles diagnoses, the two individuals were in several public locations where others might have been exposed. Public-health officials said in a news release that individuals who were in these areas at those particular times, and who are not immune to measles, may have been exposed and could become sick, likely between July 16 and Aug. 8.
The locations are:
- July 9: Mercerdale Park, 77th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 32nd Street, Mercer Island, 6-10 p.m.
- July 10: Ken’s Market, 7231 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- July 10: Spud Fish and Chips, 9702 N.E. Juanita Drive, Kirkland, 2-5 p.m..
- July 10: Quality Food Center (QFC), 211 Parkplace Center, Kirkland, 3-6 p.m
- July 10 and July 15: Quality Food Center (QFC), 7823 S.E. 28th St., Mercer Island, 7-10 p.m. July 10 and 1-4 p.m. July 15
“People who have not been immunized should be aware if they were in these locations,” said Meredith Li-Vollmer, risk communication specialist for the public-health agency. “But for the general public the risk is very low.”
She said people at highest risk for exposure to measles include those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under 6 months of age and people with weakened immune systems.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever; rash; cough; and red, watery eyes, according to the news release. The illness is mainly spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.
Public-health officials are advising people who were in the exposure locations around the same time as the two individuals with measles to find out whether they have been vaccinated or have had measles previously. They should call a health-care provider if they develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash between July 16 and Aug. 8.
Officials also say that to avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, people who think they might have measles should not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first.
Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief of communicable disease and epidemiology with the public-health agency, said Seattle typically has no measles cases to just a few cases a year. In January, a traveler through Sea-Tac airport was confirmed with measles, and one person acquired measles through that exposure. There was an additional case earlier this month of a young child at Sea-Tac.
“Measles is not usually occurring in the U.S. since it was eradicated from the Americas, and there is no seasonality,” Duchin said. “The majority of cases are imported by travelers or visitors from areas where measles is still common – Europe, Asia, Africa and other places.”