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Public Health Officials Urge Continued Vigilance Regarding Measles

Community news | Thursday, April 4, 2019

Contact: Mardi Ford

NOTICE; APRIL 04, 2019 – Grande Ronde Hospital is sharing this advisory on behalf of our local Public Health Department. We join with them in asking the public, our patients, to please call your health care provider prior to visiting the medical office if you believe you have measles symptoms and/or think have been exposed to measles in order to avoid exposing others in the waiting room.


For Immediate Release – Union County Public Health advisory

Submitted by the Center for Human Development, Inc.

Public Health Department

Today’s Date: April 3, 2019

To: La Grande Observer

Elkhorn Media

Pacific Empire Radio Group

Union County Emergency Management

Grande Ronde Hospital

Contacts: Carrie Brogoitti, CHD Public Health Administrator, 541 910-7207

Susie Cederholm, CHD Public Information Officer, 541 910-8811

George Thompson, CHD Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator 541 910-9994

Health Officials Urge Continued Vigilance Regarding Measles

The end of spring break means that many travelers are coming home and getting settled back into work and school. Because measles is highly contagious and cases are still cropping up in over 15 states throughout the country, it is important to continue looking for signs of the disease to reduce its spread. The number of measles cases so far this year is higher than all the cases reported in 2018. The Centers for Disease Control reported Monday there had been 387 measles cases between January 1 and March 28, 2019. By comparison, in all of 2018, there were 372 confirmed measles cases in the U.S.

The Center for Human Development (CHD) and local health care providers continue to see a variety of different illnesses with symptoms that are similar to the measles. Because of this, it is important to be aware of measles symptoms so they can be recognized to minimize the spread of this highly contagious disease if it does show up in Union County.

If You Suspect You have Measles Call First!

Local health officials ask anyone who thinks they have been exposed or believe they have measles symptoms to call their health care provider prior to visiting the medical office to make a plan that avoids exposing others in the waiting room. People who believe they have symptoms of measles should not go directly to medical offices, urgent care centers or emergency departments (unless experiencing a medical emergency) without calling in advance.

Get Vaccinated!

Measles is highly preventable and the best protection is the highly effective MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. You can get the MMR vaccine from your health care provider or at the Center for Human Development. Call CHD to schedule an appointment (541-962-8800) or visit us during our drop-in hours every Friday from 8am-3pm.

Anyone with questions about measles immunity or the measles vaccine should contact their primary care provider. A person is considered immune to measles if ANY of the following apply: 1. You were born before 1957.

  1. Your physician has diagnosed you with measles.

  2. A blood test proves that you are immune.

  3. You have been fully vaccinated against measles (one dose for children 12 months through 3-years old, two doses in anyone 4 years and older).

About Measles

Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, and is followed by a blotchy rash that starts on the face or at the hair line and then spreads all over the body. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth. People are contagious with measles for four days before the rash appears and up to four days after the rash appears. After someone is exposed to measles, illness develops in about one to three weeks. The virus can also linger in the air for up to two hours after someone who is infectious has left.

Approximately 30 percent of reported cases have one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. Swelling of the brain (encephalitis) is a rare but much more serious complication. Complications are more common in young children and adults. Measles poses the highest risk to unvaccinated pregnant women, infants under 12 months of age, and people with weakened immune systems.

Follow Oregon's measles investigation through the Oregon Health Authority

Follow Washington State's measles investigation through the Department of Health

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