News and Information

June 27, 2014

Confirmed Cases of Measles Reported in South King and Pierce Counties

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department received confirmation yesterday of Pierce County’s first case of measles in at least six years involving an infant.

Several additional cases were reported in South King County health care facilities between June 10 and June 24, 2014. The only Franciscan facility treating a confirmed case is the Emergency Department at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.

The Pierce and King County Health Departments are working with relevant health care providers to ensure that those who may have been exposed are being contacted. Medical facilities are directly contacting persons who were present including patients, visitors, and staff, during the times of potential exposure.

People who visited the following health care facilities in Pierce County should contact their regular health care provider to let them know they were exposed to the measles:

Date

Time Period of Concern

Facility

June 22

4:30 - 10:30 p.m.

Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Emergency Dept. and Tacoma General Hospital Emergency Dept.

June 24

10:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Emergency Dept. andTacoma General Hospital Emergency Dept.

June 24-25

8:30 p.m.- 2:30 a.m.

St. Joseph Medical Center Emergency Department

What to do if you think you were potentially exposed to measles

Be alert for an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash, for at least the next three weeks. A combination of these signs or symptoms is a strong indicator of measles: fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes.Confirm whether or not you’ve been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously. Since most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, the risk to the general public is low.

Anyone with symptoms of measles should:

  • call a health care provider promptly and tell them you want to be evaluated for measles
  • to avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, you should NOT go to a clinic or hospital without calling first
  • Pierce County residents without a regular healthcare provider who think they might have measles should call the Pierce County Health Department at 253-798-6410, option “0”
  • King County residents can gain more information by calling the Measles hotline: 206-296-4949

If you do not have a regular healthcare provider, find free and low cost vaccine resources for adults and children at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website: www.tpchd.org/immunizations.

About measles

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It 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 the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.

People at highest risk from exposure to measles include those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants and those with weakened immune systems. Persons born before Jan. 1, 1957 are considered immune to measles from natural exposure. Persons born after that date are considered immune if they have had two doses of measles containing vaccine, serological evidence of immunity, or have had measles disease diagnosed by a medical provider. For more information about measles, visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website: www.tpchd.org/measles.

News Media Contact:

Scott Thompson
P: (253) 382-3858
E: ScottThompson@fhshealth.org