Measles outbreak declared "over"

Measles outbreak declared "over"
Posted on 12/11/2019
Lane County Public Health (LCPH) announced today the most recent measles outbreak has been declared over. Due to the highly contagious nature of measles (1 case can result in 16 additional cases in an unvaccinated population), a single case is cause for concern and can trigger an outbreak designation. Thanks to a coordinated effort from the Oregon Health Authority, LCPH, and community partners, that single case of measles in a Lane County resident did not spread further. 

“I think it’s important to recognize just how remarkable it is that this outbreak, and the outbreak in 2016, was kept to one single case,” said Lane County Senior Health Officer, Dr. Patrick Luedtke. “Measles is an incredibly contagious virus but with open lines of communication with our provider network and a lot of help from the businesses where exposures occurred, as well as participation from those who were exposed, our Communicable Disease team was able to do great detective work and keep this to a single case.”

Outbreaks of measles can cause devastating results, often times resulting in hundreds, if not thousands of cases. Some of these cases can lead to life-long consequences and in rare occurrences, even death. Due to these facts, upon confirmation of a measles case within Lane County, LCPH will declare an outbreak and go into a special emergency organizational structure which allows the agency to devote special resources towards preventing the spread of the virus. This process includes interviews with the individual who has measles, as well as anyone they may have had contact with (exposures). Some of these people will need additional monitoring or testing, which is often coordinated by LCPH. LCPH also communicates with the management of any business a case may have visited, the network of healthcare providers in our county to make sure they know measles is in the area and how to treat it, as well as public information to help inform the community about how they can help. An outbreak is typically declared “over” 21 days after the last known exposure took place.

So far this year, 1276 cases of measles have been reported in the United States. This is the highest number in a decade. Thankfully, there is an effective, safe, and readily available vaccine for measles: MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). All community members are urged to find out what their vaccine status for measles is and to receive the MMR vaccine if necessary.

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