Health Officials Confirm Measles Cases in Seattle and Ohio

Health Officials Confirm Measles Cases in Seattle and Ohio
A thin-section transmission electron micrograph (TEM) reveales the ultrastructural appearance of a single virus particle, or “virion,” of the measles virus. (CDC via Getty Images)

Two public health departments in Washington state and Ohio said they are looking into two separate measles cases involving people who recently came back to the United States following international travel.

In a statement, officials in King County, Washington, said that a contagious measles patient was at locations in Bellevue, Seattle, and Woodinville from June 27 to July 2, and that people who were in the vicinity of the person—identified only as an “adult”—may have been exposed to the virus.

“Measles is a very contagious infection and if you don’t yet have immunity, you can get it just by being in a room where a person with measles has been,” said Eric Chow, an official in the King County Public Health agency, said in a release.

“We’ve seen an increase in measles cases around the world and in the U.S., so it’s an important time to check your vaccination status and get vaccinated if you aren’t protected.”

On July 4, the Butler County General Health District in Ohio said that it confirmed a measles case in a child younger than 1 year of age who lived in the county. Children under the age of 1 are not generally advised to get a measles vaccine.

“This case acquired measles through international travel and returned to the United States through a Chicago-area airport and then returned to Ohio via car,” the agency said, adding that it is “not disclosing additional information about the affected individual.”

Other Cases

Across the United States, 159 measles cases from 23 locales have been reported in 2024. In 2023, for the full year, 58 cases were reported, according to the latest data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A large number of measles cases this year have been linked to the spread of the virus at a Chicago shelter that houses illegal immigrants, although a handful of cases involving international travelers have been reported as well. As of May, 57 cases were associated with the shelter outbreak, the CDC said in a separate report.

“Most cases occurred in unvaccinated persons. A prompt and coordinated response with a high-coverage mass vaccination campaign reduced the size and duration of the outbreak,” the agency stated about the Chicago outbreak.

Heightened Risk

In March, the CDC sent out a health alert about “an increase in global and U.S. measles cases and to provide guidance on measles prevention for all international travelers” aged six months and older.

“Many countries, including travel destinations such as Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom, are experiencing measles outbreaks,” the agency said. “To prevent measles infection and reduce the risk of community transmission from importation, all U.S. residents traveling internationally, regardless of destination, should be current on their [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccinations.”

About a month ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, issued a joint statement that warned measles is on the rise across the European region, with some 56,634 cases and four deaths being officially reported for the first three months of this year.

Authorities say measles, a highly infectious virus, generally shows up in two stages. In the first, most people develop a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, runny nose, watery red eyes, or cough. These symptoms generally start seven to 14 days after being exposed.

Officials say the second stage of measles starts about two to three days after the initial symptoms. Some people develop what is known as Koplik spots—tiny white spots—inside the mouth, according to the CDC.

Three to five days after the first symptoms begin, the telltale measles rash starts to appear on the patient’s face near the hairline area before it spreads to the rest of the body, spreading downward.

From The Epoch Times