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State issues measles alert

The Washington State Department of Health has learned of a case of measles in an adult who was briefly present at a house where there was a known case of measles in Whatcom County. The woman traveled to Seattle for a Kings of Leon concert at Key Arena on March 28. While there she also was at the Best Western Loyal Inn and the Wasabi Bistro. The next day, March 29, she was at Beth’s Café, Aurora Suzuki, Starbucks at First and Pike, and the Pike Place Market.

On those same dates she visited several locations in Pierce County, including Celebrity Cake Studio, LeMay Car Museum, Harmon Brewing Company and some department stores. A complete list of the locations and the times of potential public exposure are available online at doh.wa.gov.

In addition, an adult resident of San Juan County that had recently travelled out of the country has also had measles but remained within the county during the contagious phase. A complete list of locations and the times of potential public exposure are also available at doh.wa.gov.

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially serious illness caused by a virus. It is spread through the air after a person who is sick with measles coughs or sneezes.

Because most people in this area have been vaccinated against measles, the risk to the general public and to anyone exposed is low.

The Whatcom County Health Department is working directly with the person’s primary care clinic and close contacts to make sure those persons who might have been exposed are notified of the exposure and receive the appropriate follow-up if they are not already immune to measles.

However, some people that might have been exposed at public sites cannot be individually identified.

Measles poses the highest risk to people who have not been vaccinated, especially pregnant women, infants under 12 months and people with weakened immune systems.

You are considered immune to measles if any of the following apply:

  1. You were born before 1957 or;

  2. You are certain you have had the measles or;

  3. You have been fully vaccinated for measles (two doses of MMR vaccine).

Anyone with questions about measles infection or the measles vaccine should contact their primary care provider.

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