May 5, 2011
County Health Department Identifies Three Probable Cases of Measles
The Bucks County Health Department has identified three probable cases of measles that could have exposed other persons while infectious. For most people, measles is not a serious illness. However, in some cases it can cause severe illness. Complications from measles can include ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, and encephalitis. All three probable cases in Bucks County were at least partially vaccinated.
Possible measles exposures could have occurred at the following times and locations:
- Saturday night, April 30, at the Murder Mystery Dinner at the Cock and Bull Restaurant in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska;
- Saturday, April 30, between the hours of 11 a.m. and noon at the Parx Casino blackjack tables.
If you attended one of these locations during the time specified, and are susceptible to the virus, you are asked to watch out for symptoms of measles between now and May 17. What should you do if you develop symptoms of measles? If you develop a rash and/or fever, do not attend public places (such as work, school, childcare, shopping or public transportation until you see a doctor and are sure you don’t have measles). If you suspect you have measles, call your physician before you go and let him/her know that you may have been exposed to measles.
Most people in the United States are immune to measles, either because they received the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine in childhood, or because they were exposed to measles in the pre-vaccine era (before 1957). Infants less than one year of age are too young to have received the MMR vaccine.
The public should be aware that measles is caused by a highly contagious virus. Symptoms will begin one to two weeks after exposure and include a runny nose, watery eyes, cough and a high fever. After four days, a raised, red rash starts to spread on the face, down the body and out to the arms and legs. The rash usually lasts four to seven (4-7) days. An individual with measles can spread the virus to others for four days before and four days after the rash begins.
The probable cases here in Bucks County were exposed to French foreign exchange students who were symptomatic for measles, but returned to their native country prior to testing. There is currently a major measles outbreak in France. The probable cases live in the Council Rock School District, and the affected schools and their students are being notified. Children who have not been vaccinated will be removed from the schools until the possible incubation period of illness is over.
Dr. David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Department of Health, notes that this situation "shows more than ever the importance of vaccinating your family. Diseases that are rare in the U.S. are still circulating around the world, and are only a plane flight away. This is another reminder to check with your physician and make sure you and members of your family are up-to-date on their vaccinations.”
For comprehensive information about measles, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.