Journal of the San Juan Islands


Measles outbreak stands at six; no new cases reported

April 23, 2014 · Updated 3:52 PM

— submitted by Town of Friday Harbor/San Juan County Department of Emergency Management

No new cases of measles have been reported since April 18, or are under investigation, in San Juan County.

Over the past month, a total of six cases have been reported among San Juan Island residents. Those cases are now beyond the contagious period.

However, current information indicates that exposures to contagious individuals in Friday Harbor took place as late as April 8 at numerous locations, meaning local residents could still develop symptoms from the outbreak as late as April 29. While all the known cases have passed the infectious period, additional cases may be present.

It is difficult to know for sure if an individual is infected, as one is contagious for a full day before experiencing symptoms. According to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, an outbreak cannot be considered over until two incubation periods beyond the last known exposure, or May 20.

In addition to the cases that have occurred in San Juan County, six individuals in Whatcom and one in Kitsap County have recently been diagnosed with measles. Several of these individuals are known to have traveled throughout the region while infectious. For this reason local residents should consider measles as a possibility if they become ill.

If you become infected, the symptoms of measles will be present 7-21 days after exposure. Symptoms are high fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and a rash of tiny, red spots that starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

Measles is especially dangerous for children under five years of age, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons.

If you are feeling sick and think you may have the measles do not come to the public health department or your medical provider without calling first. If you think you have measles you will be asked to wear a mask and may be conducted to a special room for examination.

Most adults born before 1957 have had measles and can be considered to be immune. The best protection against measles is the MMR vaccine. You should be sure now that your children are fully immunized.

If you or your child, older than 12 months of age, have not received a dose of MMR vaccine; you should be vaccinated now. If you or your child, older than 12 months of age, have received one dose of MMR vaccine; and, it has been more than 28 days since that dose, you should now consider a second dose of MMR vaccine.

If you have questions about measles, call San Juan Health and Community Services, 378-4474.



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