SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — A measles case has been reported in Salt Lake County for the first time since 2017 by a resident who was exposed while traveling outside of the country, according to Salt Lake County Health Department.
One person was reported to be infected with measles after contracting the disease while traveling outside of the country, according to the department. The individual was not vaccinated against the disease.
The health department was notified yesterday, Mar. 22, about the infection and immediately began an investigation. Authorities say “the public is at minimal risk of illness” at this time and exposure is expected to be limited to healthcare professionals and family members, all of which have been contacted and advised to receive the vaccination if they have not already.
Measles was “declared eradicated” in the U.S. over 20 years ago, according to the press release, however, is still common in many parts of the world including Europe, Asia and Africa.
“Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease,” SLCoHD Executive Director Dr. Angela Dunn said. “While over 90 percent of children in Utah schools and childcare facilities are adequately vaccinated, there are still people in our community who are not protected.”
Authorities say individuals vaccinated against measles are not at risk, even if exposed. Obtaining a vaccine within 72 hours of exposure can also prevent the disease.
Some symptoms of measles include a fever of 101 degrees or higher, cough, red or watery eyes, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads covering the rest of the body, according to the press release. Complications from the disease can cause brain swelling, pneumonia, and in some cases death.
The department says measles is “one of the most contagious diseases known,” contaminating 90% of unvaccinated individuals exposed to the disease.