Clark County child diagnosed with measles

Child exposed to someone with disease in Portland

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter



A Clark County child has been diagnosed with the measles.

The elementary school-aged child contracted the highly contagious respiratory disease after coming into contact with someone in Portland who had the disease. Last month, Oregon health officials warned people of possible measles exposure at a Portland hospital, a Beaverton medical clinic and a Beaverton UPS store.

The Clark County child came into contact with an infected person at one of those locations and was placed under surveillance by health officials, said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health administrator/officer. Health officials told the child’s parents what symptoms to watch for, Melnick said.

The child — whose gender and age have not been disclosed — developed a rash on Sunday, Nov. 24. People with measles are contagious from four days before rash onset to four days after rash onset, Melnick said.

The child attended school at Harmony Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 25. Once health officials learned the child had developed a rash, they worked with the school to identify students who may have been exposed to the disease, Melnick said.

The infected child had received one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. State law requires children receive two doses of the vaccine before entering school, however, parents can receive vaccine exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

Health officials sent a letter home to parents of all Harmony students and personally notified the parents of students in the child’s classroom who had not received two doses of the vaccine, Melnick said. Three other children in the class were not fully protected and have been excluded from school until the disease incubation period ends Dec. 16, Melnick said.

Measles has a seven- to 21-day incubation period, meaning people exposed to the disease may not show symptoms for up to three weeks after exposure.

The child developed what health officials call a “modified case” of measles, which is a mild case of the disease, Melnick said. That’s attributed to the one dose of the vaccine the child received, and as a result, health officials don’t believe the child is as contagious as someone who is completely unprotected against measles, Melnick said.

Clark County last had a confirmed measles case in early 2011, when two children were diagnosed with the disease.

The first confirmed case of measles was a Clark County infant diagnosed Feb. 14, 2011, after returning from a family trip to India. The second case was a Vancouver teenager who was exposed to the contagious infant at a medical clinic. He was diagnosed March 3, 2011.