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No confirmed cases in Utah County at this time

PROVO, Utah (May 6, 2011) -- The Utah County Health Department has received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the suspect case in Payson tested negative for measles.

"While this didn't turn out to be a case, it is still a good reminder for us to check our immunizations and be up-to-date," said Lance Madigan, UCHD public information officer. "For children, they should have two MMR vaccinations. For adult, if you know you had two vaccinations or were born before 1957, you are good. If you don't know, it doesn't hurt to get the booster."


PROVO, Utah (May 5, 2011) --Although no cases have been confirmed at this time, officials at the Utah County Health Department (UCHD) are alerting certain individuals that might have been exposed to a suspected case of measles. Doctors and clinics are also being made aware of the potential of cases in the area so as to be on the alert.

"The UCHD has been made aware of a child that might have been contagious with measles, however preliminary tests were inconclusive. Confirmatory tests are expected back by Friday," said Dr. Joseph Miner, UCHD director. "At this time, we have erred on the side of caution and have been contacting individuals that might have been exposed to the suspect case, asking them to voluntarily stay home during their own potential contagious period." Dr. Miner said UCHD staff has contacted those directly affected. "If you weren't contacted, you can go about your activities normally. However, this is an excellent reminder that we should have our vaccinations up-to-date, especially MMR."

Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. It can cause fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. A vaccine has been available since the late 1960's, and is now given as a combination vaccine with mumps and rubella -- more commonly referred to as MMR -- at ages 12 to 15 months and a booster about age 4 to 5 years. "The CDC reports that individuals who receive a first MMR vaccine are 95 percent protected against measles," said Dr. Miner. "A second MMR provides 99.7 percent protection."

Thirty percent of those who get measles have complications that can include meningitis, pneumonia, seizures, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), blindness and brain damage. About one out of 1,000 gets encephalitis, and one or two out of 1,000 die. While measles is rarely seen in the United States, it still kills nearly 200,000 people each year around the world. Recent US outbreaks have been linked to international travel, and is often the result of no or incomplete vaccination.

Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. It is so contagious that any individual who is exposed to it and is not immune is very likely to get the disease. It has an incubation period -- meaning the time between exposure and when individuals show symptoms -- of six to nineteen days. Individuals can pass the infection four days prior to showing symptoms and until up to 5 days following the onset of the rash.

"As a virus, individuals with measles cannot be treated with antibiotics," said Dr. Miner. He explained that symptoms are treated with fever-reducing medications. "Individuals that are exposed who have not been vaccinated are asked to self-quarantine during the infectious period." Dr. Miner said that individuals with a fever and rash should stay home while sick. When seeking medical care, call ahead so providers can keep individuals separated from other patients. "Individuals who are not adequately immunized against measles should receive vaccination or should stay away from potentially ill individuals. Adequate immunization requires two MMR doses," said Dr. Miner.

At present, nine cases have been confirmed in the Salt Lake area. Cases have also been identified in other parts of the US including Texas, New York, and Minnesota. The CDC issued a statement earlier today that they expect this to be the highest level of measles outbreaks since the disease was considered non-endemic in the US.

If you have concerns that you have been exposed or contracted the disease, please contact your personal physician for testing. For further information, please see www.UtahCountyHealth.org/measles or www.cdc.gov/measles.

The Utah County Health Department seeks to promote health, and prevent avoidable disease and injury by monitoring the health of our community, and assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. For details about UCHD programs or services, please visit www.UtahCountyHealth.org or call 801-851-7000. Or you can follow the UCHD at Twitter or be a fan on Facebook.