Measles case reported in Idaho resident who was exposed during international travel
An Idahoan unvaccinated for measles has been confirmed as positive for the virus, public health agencies announced in a news release on Wednesday.
While infectious, the adult male was in the Boise Airport on Sept. 13 and in the Nampa area on Sept. 14 and 15, the release said. He was hospitalized and is recovering at home after being exposed during international travel, the release said.
Health officials from Southwest District Health and other local health districts are notifying people who may have been exposed, the release said, but some people exposed briefly may not be identified by health officials.
The symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, cough and rash, the release said. People with measles symptoms should not enter health care settings without calling ahead, the release said, and should contact their health care providers.
People exposed to measles should monitor for symptoms for 21 days after exposure and contact their health care provider, the release said. Measles can spread up to four days before and after a rash, the release said.
Vaccination is the best protection against measles, health officials say. Measles — which can live in the air up to two hours after someone infected leaves — is highly contagious but rare. Up to 90% of non-immune people in contact with an infected person can become infected, the release said.
Across the country, 22 total measles cases were reported this year by 14 jurisdictions by Sept. 8, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, 121 measles cases were reported by six jurisdictions, the CDC said.
“Measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease and could quickly spread to others,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, Idaho state epidemiologist. “Measles can spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing, but also by breathing the contaminated air or touching a surface that has respiratory droplets on it.”
Vaccination for measles is 97% effective at preventing measles after two doses, said Ricky Bowman, epidemiology program manager with Southwest District Health, in the news release.
Children should be vaccinated between 12 and 15 months old and again between 4 and 6 years old, the release said.
The CDC says there is no antiviral treatment for measles.