Community Issues

Four New Cases of Measles in Allegheny County, But Don't Panic

Health experts say high rates of vaccination in PA mean low risk of contracting it

The Allegheny County Health Department (Pittsburgh, PA) says there are now a total of 5 people with confirmed measles in the county, but they say the vast majority of people don't need to worry.

Last week the Health Department confirmed the county's first case. The four new cases are all people from the same family. Only one of the family members, who is not vaccinated, lives in the county. The three others, including two unvaccinated children, are visiting from overseas.

One of the infected people spent time at the Enterprise Rent-a-Car on Babcock Boulevard in Ross Township, north of the city, on Wednesday. Anyone there between the hours of 2-5 p.m could have been exposed. Another family member who is now recovered was infectious while traveling and could have exposed people at the Pittsburgh International Airport on Tuesday, April 16, during the hours of 7:30-10 a.m.

While there have been serious outbreaks in the Pacific Northwest and New York most people in Allegheny County are not at risk for contracting measles because they've been immunized, have had measles, or were born before 1957 and considered immune to measles.

People born before 1957 are considered immune, and therefore not at risk.

Those who are most at risk are babies less than a year old who are too young to have received the measles (MMR) vaccine, people who refused vaccination or can't be vaccinated, and people from parts of the world where there's a low rate of vaccination.

The Health Department says anyone who is susceptible to measles or gets sick with the symptoms should call their primary care doctor. Don't go straight to the office or an emergency room, since you could expose other people.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through coughing, sneezing or other contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person. Symptoms typically appear 1-to-3 weeks after infection and include: rash; high fever; cough; nasal congestion; and red, watery eyes.

(Images: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services )

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