FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2013
Colorado reports first measles case since 2006
DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been notified of an adult male who traveled to the Denver metropolitan area from India on May 14 and tested positive for measles at the state laboratory on June 4.
Though the man was not infectious during the time period that he traveled to Colorado, while he was infectious the patient visited a small private physician’s office and later was hospitalized at Sky Ridge Medical Center. Both facilities are notifying exposed patients. The patient made a full recovery.
Dr. Lisa Miller, state epidemiologist, said, “Most people are protected against measles, but unvaccinated patients and visitors who were at Sky Ridge Medical Center between May 25 and 27 may be at risk for developing measles. These people should contact their health care provider if they experience a rash and fever.”
Patients and visitors to the following areas at Sky Ridge Medical Center should be alert for symptoms:
- The Emergency Department from 6 p.m. on May 25 to 3 a.m. on May 26
- The Intensive Care Unit from 1 a.m. to 8 p.m. on May 26
- Any hospital area from 5:30 p.m. on May 26 thru midnight on May 27
The incubation period for measles ranges from 7–21 days. People who were exposed to the person at the time he was infectious could be at risk for measles as late as June 17. Measles virus is spread when a person sneezes or coughs and sprays droplets in the air or on surfaces. Because the measles virus is highly contagious, other exposures may have occurred.
Measles symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, and a rash that usually begins on the face 2-4 days after the onset of other symptoms and typically spreads to hands and feet. Complications of measles include pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation). In unvaccinated pregnant women, measles also can cause miscarriage or premature birth.
People who suspect they may have measles are urged to call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency room. Special arrangements can be made for you to be evaluated while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.
"We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up to date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations," said Miller. "This event shows that diseases like measles are just a plane ride away, even though the disease is uncommon in the U.S. Two doses of measles vaccine is more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles."
For more information about measles, the public can call CO-HELP at 877-462-2911.