SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — A person sick with measles in Marion County caught the virus from an unvaccinated traveler from Illinois, health officials said.
Marion County’s Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the case Tuesday and said it was not linked to the current measles outbreak in Clark County or to any cases in Multnomah County.
Earlier this month, the Oregon Health Authority said an Illinois resident contagious with measles was at PDX on Feb. 22 and visited locations in Marion County between Feb. 18 – 22.
That person was not immunized and “recently spent time in countries where measles is common,” the OHA said.
The Marion County resident had contact with the Illinois resident and does not immunization records to show they were vaccinated against measles, officials said.
- Youth With a Mission, 7085 Battle Creek Road SE, Salem, Feb. 18, 7 a.m. through March 11, 5 p.m.
- Get Air Trampoline Park, 3910 Rickey St. SE, Salem, Feb. 21, 1:45-5 p.m.
- Red Robin, 831 Lancaster Dr. NE, Salem, Feb. 21, 12:30-3:30 p.m.
- Portland International Airport: Southwest Airlines check-in area and Concourse C, Feb. 22, 12:30–5 p.m.
Health officials said enough time has passed since those locations were exposed to the virus that unvaccinated people are safe to visit them once again.
“The public exposure sites have lapsed,” said Katrina Rothenburg with Marion County Health and Human Services. “So there is no risk of eating at Red Robin anymore or going to Get Air. The people who are at Youth With a Mission are all aware of what’s going on.”
But for some parents and grandparents, just knowing some places around Salem were exposed to measles had them worried for their kids, some of whom are too young to have had both recommended doses of the MMR vaccine.
“I was nervous on bringing her down here,” said Mackenzie Castro, a mother of 2.
Health officials have stressed that the case in Marion County is unrelated to the measles outbreak affecting other counties in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
“I guess I was a little surprised that Marion County had it,” said Fran Philipek who has 2 grandchildren. “I mean, I figure Clark County right across the river from Portland would get it, but then when I heard Illinois — well it comes from everywhere.”
Officials were working with the OHA to notify individuals of their potential exposure.
Measles is a highly contagious virus spread through the air. It can linger in a room up to two hours after someone with the virus has been there and you can catch it even before the sick person develops a rash.
The virus starts with a fever and can also cause a runny nose, cough, red eyes, ear infection, diarrhea and a rash of tiny red spots starting at the head and then spreading. It is especially dangerous for babies and young children.
The CDC said almost everyone who has not been vaccinated will get the virus if they are exposed.
If you think you have the measles, contact your healthcare provider before visiting a clinic.