Creswell, Public Safety & Health

Measles Carrier Visited Creswell

CRESWELL – Two new measles cases were confirmed in Oregon, and one of those infected made a stop in Creswell on Monday, Oct. 21, according to Lane County Public Health officials.
A Lane County resident and a visitor to Washington County were diagnosed with measles, a potentially severe viral infection, after both patients traveled on the same flight into Portland International Airport as a confirmed measles case.
The virus can linger in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious has left an area. As of Tuesday, Lane County still has only one confirmed case of measles, said Lane County Public Information Officer Devon Ashbridge, though the Lane County Public Health Department is continuing to investigate possible exposures and monitoring for new cases.
Four sites were identified as points of possible exposure during the Lane County patient’s infectious period, including Creswell Bakery on Monday, Oct. 21 between 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
“None of the identified locations are considered ongoing exposure risks, including the Creswell Bakery,” Ashbridge said Tuesday. Other locations include the Bier Stein in Eugene on Oct. 21, Blu Mist restaurant and North Fork Public House in Eugene on Oct. 23.
Bakery owner Heidi Tunnell said she has been in contact with health officials since Monday, and has been following their direction and advice. There is no evidence of any ongoing issue, she said.
“All of the identified businesses have been wonderfully cooperative as we seek to get as much information as possible about possible exposures during the identified windows of time,” Ashbridge said.

Measles spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9-of-10 people around the carrier also will become infected if they are not protected, according to county officials.
From a medical perspective, Camas Swale Dr. Damon Armitage said this exposure is concerning because diseases like measles and whooping cough were rare, and are being seen again due to an increase in parents reluctant to vaccinate children.
“We’re seeing a disease that most physicians haven’t treated in their practice lifetime,” Armitage said. “It is concerning to see a reemergence of elective non-immunization because of that.”
According to case reports, there is a small percentage – under 1% – of people who have a life-threatening reaction to the immunization, Armitage said. Children get two doses, while adults who have not been vaccinated before receive one shot.
Symptoms can appear seven to 18 days after contact. Watch for what Armitage calls “the classic constellation of symptoms” – cough, congestion, a red rash with bumps over a widely distributed area on the body. The rash usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet. Tiny white spots may also appear inside the mouth two days after symptoms begin.
Those under the biggest threat have compromised immune systems, chronic disease or are extremely young or old, he said. Neither of the affected people were fully vaccinated, according to county officials.
“Bottom line is, vaccinations are extremely safe,” Armitage said. “No vaccination is perfect, so to a certain extent we rely on what’s called ‘herd immunity’ – the more people who get vaccinated, the more effective vaccine will be.”
Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus and one dose is about 93 percent effective, county leaders said.
If someone believes they have been exposed to measles, they should contact their healthcare provider by phone before traveling for an office visit and should limit contact with other people and public places.
“Measles … doesn’t take much to spread it from one person to another, particularly in the close quarters of an airline flight,” said Ann Thomas, MD, public health physician at Oregon Health Authority. “It’s a good reminder of how important it is to make sure all adults and children in your household are up to date on vaccines.”



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