Measles concerns: Your questions answered by health officials

May 17, 2019, 8:45 AM
Health officials say the beset way to stop Washington's measles outbreak is to get vaccinated. (AP image)
(AP image)

The State Health Department said this week there are five new measles cases: two in King County, two in Pierce County and one in Snohomish County.

Thursday afternoon, Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle and King County, answered questions about measles concerns.

RELATED: Issaquah closes school for measles exposure

“No one should freak out. Everyone should get vaccinated. .,.. We have a highly effective and safe vaccine. We have time. We’re not in the middle of a large outbreak. But we may be at some point if we don’t do what we need to do.”

What are the recommended vaccination doses?

“If you travel internationally, you should have two doses. If you’re a student, you should have two doses. If you’re a health care worker, you should have two doses. Most adults only need one dose.”

What should you do if you don’t have your vaccination records? 

If you don’t have records, get a blood test from a health provider or get a second dose, Duchin said. A second dose is fine.

Why are we seeing an increase in measles cases?

“Measles is surging around the world and in the U.S., primarily due to low vaccination rates,” Duchin said. The disease is easily transmitted through the air, and Duchin said people have become complacent about measles.

How many people need to be vaccinated for a community to be safe?

“You really need to have 95 percent ideally of your community vaccinated or more to really be comfortable that measles won’t transmit in that community.”

What happens if someone not vaccinated is exposed to measles?

“If someone is exposed to a measles case, and they can be vaccinated with 72 hours that will decrease the likelihood they will develop measles. If there’s a high-risk person – that mean’s a pregnant woman, an infant, someone who has a weakened immune system who’s been exposed to measles – they shouldn’t be vaccinated, but they can receive a medicine called immune globulin up to six days after their exposure that will prevent them from developing measles. If you’re past that time frame, it’s very important just to watch very closely for symptoms and contact a health care provider right away if you develop symptoms.”

Can you get measles or spread measles if you have been vaccinated?

“If you’ve been vaccinated, you cannot spread the measles. You cannot acquire the measles, in general. In a very small proportion — 1 or 2 percent of people who are vaccinated may get measles because they failed to respond to the vaccine. But 97 percent of people who get the recommended doses, two doses are protected, which means they can’t be infected, they can’t spread it.”

Could the measles situation in Western Washington get worse?

Duchin said they will know within 21 days. That time is to see how many people with measles came in contact with, and how far cases could potentially spread. He said getting vaccinated is the best defense.

Where in Western Washington were people with recent measles cases?

While the exact sources and locations of the measels infections are not known, all the new cases spent time in Sea-Tac Airport when they were likely infectious. Read more about the individual cases below.

Find the statewide measles count here.

Pierce County 

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced Sunday that a man in his 40s was diagnosed with measles. The patient had been to SeaTac Airport and a meeting at Orting High School. To read locations of potential exposure, follow this link.

A second case was announced Wednesday. The patient is a man in his 50s that spent time in the Puyallup area while contagious.

Date Time Location
May 11 10:35 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. Target South Hill Mall
May 11 11 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. Costco in Puyallup

King County

A woman in her 40s and a woman in her 50s have been diagnosed with measles, according to the Washington State Department of Health. The Issaquah School District confirmed that one of the patients is an employee at Issaquah High School. Potential locations of exposure are listed below. Read more here.

Date Time Location
May 6, 2019 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Issaquah High School (700 2nd Ave SE, Issaquah 98027)
May 7 – 10, 2019 3:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. SeaTac International Airport, 1st Floor Parking Garage, Orange Elevators, Breezeway over Skybridge 5, Terminal to Baggage claim area
May 7, 2019 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Third & Broad Business Building (2901 3rd Ave, Seattle 98121)
May 7, 2019 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Cherry St Coffee (2719 1st Ave Seattle 98121)
May 9, 2019 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Third & Broad Business Building (2901 3rd Ave, Seattle 98121)
May 9, 2019 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Matt’s in the Market (94 Pike St, Ste. 32 Seattle 98101)
May 10, 2019 11 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Hunters Ridge Community Open House


Snohomish County

The Snohomish County Health District is currently investigating a confirmed measles case in an adolescent male. Health officials say he is a student at North Creek High School in Bothell. Potential places of exposure are listed below. Read more here.

School district officials said Wednesday evening that the district has been working the Snohomish Health District to review student vaccination records.

According to their records, they said almost 99 percent of North Creek students have received the MMR vaccine.

The school district has contacted families of students who have not received the vaccination.

“These students will be excluded from school until June 3, barring any additional confirmed cases,” the district said.

Date Time Location
May 5 12:30 – 9:30 p.m. Safeway/Starbucks, 24040 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell
May 6 7:35 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. North Creek High School, 3613 191st Place SE, Bothell
May 6 12:30 – 2:45 p.m. Top Pot Donuts, 18001 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell
May 7 7:30 a.m. – 4:20 p.m. North Creek High School, 3613 191st Place SE, Bothell
May 7 6 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Arirang Korean BBQ, 18623 Highway 99 #150, Lynnwood
May 7 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. Pochi Bubble Tea, 1211 164th St. SW, Lynnwood
May 8 7:35 a.m. – 4:20 p.m. North Creek High School, 3613 191st Place SE, Bothell
May 9 7:35 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. North Creek High School, 3613 191st Place SE, Bothell
May 9 11:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. Top Pot Donuts, 18001 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell
May 9 3:30 – 9:30 p.m. Safeway/Starbucks, 24040 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell
May 10 7:35 a.m. – 4:20 p.m. North Creek High School, 3613 191st Place SE, Bothell
May 10 3:45 – 4:30 p.m. Purity Health, 3922 148th St. SE, Bothell
May 10 7 – 10:30 p.m. Good Pho You, 402 164th St SW, Lynnwood
May 11 12:30 – 9 p.m. Safeway/Starbucks, 24040 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell
May 11 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. AMC Woodinville 12, 17640 Garden Way NE
May 12 8 – 10:30 a.m. QFC, 926 164th St SE, Mill Creek
May 12 8:30 – 10:45 a.m. Mon Amie Bakery, 914 164th Street Southeast Suite B8, Mill Creek

By Casey McNerthney, KIRO 7


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Measles concerns: Your questions answered by health officials