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News / Health / Health Wire

Spokane County resident tests positive for measles

By Alayna Shulman, The Spokesman-Review
Published: February 21, 2024, 9:59am

Spokane — A Spokane County resident has tested positive for measles, spurring health officials to warn residents of possible sites of exposure to the highly contagious virus.

According to a news release from the Spokane Regional Health District, the person picked up the virus while traveling in another country.

“Measures can be taken to prevent this disease,” Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velazquez said in the release. “Measles is a serious contagious disease, and the message is absolutely critical that if you or your child is not vaccinated, you need to get vaccinated.”

While the illness was considered eradicated in the United States around the turn of the millennium, the growing anti-vaccine movement has spurred outbreaks in recent years.

The health district said most people still should have immunity through vaccination, but residents are urged to check that they received the measles mumps rubella shot.

Officials recommend everyone get at least one MMR vaccine dose in their life unless they were born before 1957, are pregnant, already had measles or can’t get the shot for medical reasons. If you’re not sure whether you’ve been vaccinated against measles, the health district said it won’t hurt someone to get the shot twice.

Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes. According to the Washington State Department of Health, the rash usually starts on the face after a few days but can spread, and it can also be accompanied by fatigue and diarrhea.

Those who may have been exposed to the infected person could start showing symptoms as early as Sunday and as late as March 8, the health district said. Because of how easily the illness can be transmitted, the health district is warning residents to watch out for symptoms:

While everyone known to have been around the infected person has been contacted, the health district said more cases are expected.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Spokane County’s last reported measles case was.

For more information on measles, go to srhd.org/health-topics/diseases-conditions/measles.