Fourteenth Case Of Measles Confirmed In Arizona, First In Maricopa County

By Katherine Fritcke, Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 1:14pm
Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 2:28pm
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A 14th case of measles has been confirmed. It’s tied to the outbreak at the Federal Detention Facility in Eloy.

The case, announced Tuesday, is the first to be discovered in Maricopa County. 

Dr. Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said this is one of the earliest cases originating from the outbreak. 

He said it’s unlikely that the individual was able to pose a risk to the public. 

“This person was so sick that for almost the entire time they were infectious to others, basically, they were bed bound. So, we don’t think there was much exposure to the general public,” England said. 

The other 13 recorded cases of measles have been in Pinal County. Health officials say the person was exposed at the detention center in Eloy and just happens to live in Maricopa County.

England said they’re still working to confirm first generation cases and looking at the second generation cases that could begin showing up soon. Specifically, watching for people exposed to the virus at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino on May 22. 

“Most people if they were going to be getting sick from that would already be having symptoms. But, they might not yet be the point of showing the rash, yet. So, they might not realize what they even have,” he said. 

Symptoms can appear up to 21 days after exposure. Measles symptoms start out like a cold or flu, but about four days after that people will develop a rash that starts at the hairline and spreads down their face and down the rest of their body.

England said the thing protecting us all from a much larger measles outbreak is herd immunity, the fact that so many of us are vaccinated that the likelihood of contracting the virus is much lower.

“What this is is a reminder, since this person was sick before anyone knew that this outbreak was happening, this is a reminder of why we need people to stay up to date on their immunizations to begin with. You never know when these outbreaks may get started," he said. "And we’ve had so many exposures documented at this point in so many public locations that if we get away without having many additional cases of measles from those exposures it’s only going to be because we have a pretty good rate of measles immunity in the population.”

England said the vast majority of people in our community have been vaccinated and that’s what’s protecting this from spreading. Officials say for the 2015-2016 school year, 94.2 percent of kindergarteners and 97.4 percent of sixth graders are fully vaccinated against measles.

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