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Measles Information for Families

Lane County has a confirmed case and local exposures to measles   

Eugene School District 4J is sharing information to ensure all of our families and staff are informed about measles, also known as rubeola.

Measles has returned to Oregon, and Lane County currently has one confirmed case of the disease. This is part of a statewide investigation of measles cases related to international plane travel. There are multiple known exposures to the disease in Eugene. Currently, there are no known links to schools or childcare facilities, but the public health investigation is ongoing.

Measles is a serious disease and is highly contagious to people who are not immunized or are not fully immunized. You may be underimmunized if you do not have records that you received two doses of measles vaccine, or if you were vaccinated during 1963–1967. The measles vaccination is safe and effective and is readily available from many local pharmacies and healthcare providers.

Where might people have been exposed?

Four public sites have been identified in Lane County so far where people may have been exposed to measles at specific times. (These locations are not ongoing exposure risks.)

• Monday, October 21
– 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m., Creswell Bakery, 182 S. 2nd Street, Creswell
– 12:00 p.m.–4 p.m., Bier Stein, 1591 Willamette Street, Eugene

• Wednesday, October 23
– 4:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m., Blu Mist, 1400 Valley River Drive, Suite 130, Eugene
– 6:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m., North Fork Public House, 2805 Shadowview, Eugene

What will happen if this measles outbreak spreads to schools? 

If an unimmunized student is exposed to measles, Lane County Public Health will exclude them from attending school or childcare to protect them and reduce exposure to others. (This includes students who have an exemption from immunizations on file.) The exclusion is usually for 21 days after exposure, and this may be extended if there are further cases.

Lane County Public Health also will advise any unimmunized staff members to stay home if there is an exposure.

What does measles look like?

The symptoms of measles start with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, followed by a red rash that usually begins on the head or face and spreads to the rest of the body. People are most contagious with measles for four days before and four days after the rash appears.

Measles is highly contagious 

Measles is one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 out of 10 people around them will also become infected if they are not protected.

Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that person has left. An infected person can spread measles to others even before knowing they have the disease, starting about four days before developing the measles rash.

There are several hundred students in 4J schools who have not been immunized against measles. If exposed, these students are at very high risk for becoming infected with measles and spreading it to others.

Measles is serious

Measles is a serious disease—it is not a minor or routine childhood illness. It causes high fever and rash, and can cause severe long-term impacts such as hearing loss, pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), premature birth and low birth weight for infants, and even death.

About 1 in 4 people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized, and 1 or 2 out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care. Measles is especially dangerous for babies and young children, pregnant women, and people who have compromised immune systems (such as from cancer, HIV or organ transplants).

The good news

  • There is only one confirmed case in our area so far.
  • Most Oregonians have been vaccinated against measles.
  • The vaccine is proven to be safe and highly effective—about 97% effective when both doses are received.
  • Very few people—about 3 out of 100—who get two doses of measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus, but they are much more likely to have a milder illness.

How to protect yourself and your family

Text Equivalent: Measles: It isn’t just a little rash. Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. [Illustration of 6 boys and girls of various races] Measles symptoms typically include: High fever (may spike to more than 104° F) Cough Runny nose Red, watery eyes Rash breaks out 3-5 days after symptoms begin [Illustration of a little boy with watery eyes, runny nose and a thermometer in his mouth] Measles Can Be Serious About 1 out of 4 people who get measles will be hospitalized. 1 out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling due to infection (encephalitis), which may lead to brain damage. 1 or 2 out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care. [Illustration of a hospital] [Illustration of the brain] [Illustration of many people that symbolize the community, all colored in blue, except 2 that are gray] You have the power to protect your child. Provide your children with safe and long-lasting protection against measles by making sure they get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine according to CDC’s recommended immunization schedule. [Illustration of a mom and her son smiling] www.cdc.gov/measles [logo] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [logo] American Academy of Pediatrics [logo] American Academy of Family PhysiciansImmunization is the most effective measure to prevent the spread of measles. The MMR vaccine is safe and effective, and provides immunization against three diseases: measles, mumps and rubella. There is no shortage of the vaccine. It typically is readily available from healthcare providers and at local pharmacies.

Any person who has not been immunized against measles is at a very high risk for contracting and communicating this serious disease if they come into contact with someone who is contagious.

People are considered immune if any of the following is true:

  1. You’ve had your vaccinations against measles—at least one dose for children 12 months through 3 years, two doses for anyone 4 years or older. The second MMR vaccination dose can be administered anytime at least 4 weeks after the first dose. (NOTE: If you were vaccinated during 1963–1967 with vaccine of unknown type, you may have received inactivated vaccine and should be revaccinated.)
  2. You’ve been diagnosed with measles in the past (confirmed with a lab test).
  3. You’ve had a blood test “titer” that shows immunity.
  4. You were born before 1957.

If you or your child are not immune, or if you’re not sure, talk with your healthcare provider. Oregon Health Authority has provided tips on how to access your immunization records.

Additional steps to help prevent the spread of measles and other illnesses include staying home if you’re sick, washing hands frequently, covering your coughs and sneezes, and disposing of tissue paper used for coughing or sneezing.

Most importantly, if you think you or another person may have measles, STAY HOME! If a person is experiencing measles-like symptoms, they should not go to the doctor’s office. Instead, they should call their provider and ask what to do next.

 

For more information, please visit lanecounty.org/publichealth or www.cdc.gov/measles.

 

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