On Aug. 23, the Collin County Health Care Services (CCHCS) confirmed a case of the measles. The infectious individual traveled internationally while unvaccinated, then attended Plano West Senior High School between Aug. 14 and 16 during the contagious period.
The individual also spent time at Whole Foods Preston Park Colonnade on Aug. 14, while contagious, from approximately 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. The infected individual reported there were no other stops at public locations.
Collin County Health Care Services is attempting to contact any persons that might have been contaminated at private locations. There were no secondary cases reported at the time of this writing.
Measles is a highly contagious disease and is transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets (airborne infectious). Any individual contaminated by the disease is contagious from four days before the rash begins and four days after the initial appearance of the rash.
Infections droplets can remain airborne for up to two hours after the contagion has departed the area.
Measles symptoms include, but are not limited to, a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, cough, runny nose or eye redness. Anybody who suspects they might have the disease should contact their primary health care provider immediately. It is suggested for infected patients to stay home until four days after the rash has passed.
Anybody who suspect they might have encountered the contagious individual should monitor themselves for symptoms of measles for 21 days after exposure.
The CCHCS said in a press release to take all precautions if there is any reason for a person to believe they have encountered the disease.
“If you experience or have experienced measles symptoms, or if you have questions, please contact your health care provider immediately,” CCHCS said. “Measles is a very contagious airborne disease. If you develop symptoms and decide you want to be seen at your doctor’s office or at a health care facility, such as an emergency department or emergency clinic, please call them first and inform them you were possibly exposed to measles so that they may implement necessary precautions to inhibit further spread of the disease.
“Physicians and other health care providers are requested to consider measles in the initial differential diagnosis of individuals presenting with symptoms compatible with the disease, particularly individuals who have traveled abroad or have come into contact with a known measles case, regardless of vaccination status.
“CCHCS requests that health care providers, who have a suspected case of measles, take appropriate infection control precautions and immediately report any suspected cases to our office, our main line during business hours is 972-548-4707. Suspected cases should be triaged quickly and moved from waiting areas to individual rooms with appropriate airborne isolation precautions. Individuals with suspected measles should be excluded from work or school until cleared by Collin County Health Care Services.”
Dr. Jawaid Asghar, Collin County Health Care Service’s Chief Epidemiologist, said it is important for the community to “talk to your doctor about the benefits of immunization and get vaccinated if you are eligible or able.”
The MMR vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective against measles. With the recommended two doses, the effectiveness of preventing measles is 97 percent. The first dose of the vaccine is recommended for all children 12-15 months with the second dose following between 4-6 years of age. Detailed guidelines related to measles vaccination are available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/mmr/public/index.html.
For additional information on measles, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/measles/.