For Release – May 15, 2019 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications – (405) 271-5601
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Okmulgee County Health Department are investigating a confirmed case of measles in Okmulgee County. This is the first confirmed case of measles in Oklahoma since May 2018. As of Jan. 1, there have been at least 839 cases of measles reported in the United States from 23 other states. This is the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994.
Measles was identified in a person who returned to Oklahoma after traveling to various domestic and international destinations. The virus is still common in many parts of the world with outbreaks occurring in Europe, Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines. These outbreaks have resulted in travelers who develop illness in the U.S. following their return. In addition to the high number of cases, there are outbreaks ongoing in several states.
Based on collected information about the measles case during the time the patient was contagious, public health officials want to alert anyone who visited Saint Francis Glenpool emergency room, May 11, from 8 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. about potential exposure to the measles virus. Public health officials are collaborating with Saint Francis Glenpool to identify anyone who may have visited the facility to inform them of their exposure and provide recommendations.
People are protected if they are immunized with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine after the first birthday, or if they were born during or before 1957. Those who think they may have been at risk of exposure should review their immunization records and contact the Okmulgee County Health Department at 918-756-1883 during regular business hours, their local county health department or the OSDH epidemiologist-on-call at 800-234-5963.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus may remain airborne up to two hours in a room after the person with measles has left an indoor area. Those who are susceptible to measles usually develop symptoms about 10 days after exposure with a range of 7-21 days.
Symptoms of measles begin with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough. A few days later, a rash appears starting on the face spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20. The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. A person with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash and until four days after the rash begins.
Approximately 90 percent of U.S. cases reported so far this year were either unvaccinated or had an unknown history of vaccination against measles. Measles can be prevented with the measles vaccine usually given in combination with rubella and mumps, called MMR vaccine, and is recommended for all children at 12 to 15 months of age and again at 4 to 6 years of age. If a person has not received a second dose of the vaccine between 4 to 6 years of age, the booster dose may be given at any age thereafter. Two doses of vaccine normally provide lifelong immunity.
Individuals who were exposed and are not experiencing symptoms of illness do not need to be evaluated by a health care provider. Anyone who does have symptoms should contact a health care provider before presenting for care to discuss instructions for check-in and registration.