Public Health Emerging Issues – December 18, 2019

THREE CHILDREN HOSPITALIZED WITH MEASLES IN COLORADO

  • Three children tested positive for measles after traveling to a country where there was an outbreak.
  • The children, who were not immunized, are currently hospitalized at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
    • Tri-County Health Department which serves Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties is working with local partners to identify people who may have been exposed to measles since the children landed in Colorado.
    • All individuals traveling on the plane with these patients who are believed to be at risk are being contacted directly by public health agencies in the state.
  • People visiting the following locations on the following dates may have been exposed to measles:
    • Wednesday, December 11, 2019:
      • Denver International Airport (DEN) 
        • Concourse A
        • Train to baggage claim
        • West level 4 passenger pick up areas
      • 1:15 p.m. until 5:45 p.m. (times are approximate)
    • Thursday, December 12, 2019:
      • Children’s Hospital Colorado – Anschutz Campus, Emergency Department
      • 1 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. (times are approximate)
  • Anyone who visited those specific locations of the airport, at the approximate times should monitor themselves or their children for symptoms of measles.

About Measles

  • Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It can be serious for young children who are too young to be vaccinated, people with severely weakened immune systems, and those who have not been immunized.
  • Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  It is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 out of 10 people around them will also become infected if they are not protected with a vaccine.
  • Symptoms of measles can begin 7 to 21 days after exposure and include a fever of 101 degrees or higher, a runny nose, red eyes, and coughing. Following the first symptoms,  a rash starts on the face at the hairline and typically spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. The rash is usually red and blotchy.

Public Health Recommendations

  • Protect your families and communities by making sure everyone is up to date on the measles vaccine, including before traveling abroad. 
  • The best way to protect against measles is with a combination vaccine that provides protection against three diseases; measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).  
  • The MMR vaccine is proven to be very safe and effective.
  • The Mesa County Public Health Clinic, located at 510 29 ½ Road, offers MMR and other recommended vaccines, including those for international travel. We serve all patients regardless of ability to pay.

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