Health officials investigate possible measles exposure at Globe hospital

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

GILA COUNTY, Ariz. -- Health officials are monitoring 17 people who potentially were exposed to measles at a Gila County hospital earlier this month.

The patient is one of seven confirmed measles cases in Arizona. The individual is a resident of Kearny in Pinal County and visited Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center in Globe at 1:47 a.m. on Jan. 14.

Gila County Division of Health and Emergency Services has investigated all staff and non-staff visitors who were in the hospital between 1:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. that day.

Health officials said they are following nine hospital staff members and eight other people, but at this time Gila County does not have any confirmed cases of measles.

Gila County Public Health has recommended that all exposed adults who were born in 1957 or later and who have not had measles disease or at least one measles vaccine should not go to work or other public places during the incubation period (until Feb. 4) to avoid potential spread. If being in public cannot be avoided, it is advised that a mask be worn.

Measles is extremely infectious and it is important to identify cases quickly to stop the spread. That means keeping unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the disease away from others.

You should be protected from measles if you were immunized by getting two doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, or if you have previously had the disease.

An outbreak of measles that originated at Disneyland in December reportedly has sickened dozens of people -- most of them unvaccinated -- in several states and Mexico.

Symptoms:

• Typically appear 7 to 12 days after exposure to measles but may take up to 21 days;

• Begin with fever (101 F or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose;

• Followed by a rash that is red, raised, and blotchy. The rash begins on the face at the hairline and moves down the body. The rash may last for five to six days and may turn brownish.

What to do if you think you have measles:

• Contact your health care provider by phone and let him/her know that you may have been exposed to measles. The doctor will let you know when to visit his/her office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.

• If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Call before going to let the staff know you may have measles.

For more information on measles’ signs and symptoms or where you may find vaccine, visit www.StoptheSpreadAZ.com.

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Maricopa County woman tests positive for measles after Disneyland visit