Measles Exposure in Maricopa County Highlights the Need for Continued Vaccination 

Earlier this week, the Maricopa Department of Public Health (MCDPH) identified a confirmed exposure of measles from an international traveler in Maricopa County. While no additional cases have been identified so far, measles is highly contagious. If you lack immunity and are exposed to the measles virus, you have about a 90 percent chance of contracting measles.  

Measles is not common in the United States. However, as this recent exposure highlights, uncommon does not mean impossible. This situation is a good reminder that diseases are only a plane ride away.

Measles spreads very easily via the air, through coughing or sneezing; touching infected surfaces; or if an infected person is in the same room with others. The virus can remain in the air for several hours and can be transmitted to unvaccinated people even after the infected person has left the room. 

Common symptoms of measles include: 

  • High fever (over 101°F)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Rash that usually starts on the head and slowly spreads downward to the rest of the body.

Illness from measles can also be severe. About one in five unvaccinated people in the United States who get measles is hospitalized, and between 1 and 3 out of every 1,000 children with measles will die from measles complications. 

The good news is that Arizonans have the power to protect themselves and their family, friends, and community, with the safe and highly effective measles (MMR) vaccine. Now that there is measles activity here in Arizona, it’s time for you and your family to check your vaccination status to make sure that everyone is up to date on their shots. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles from spreading throughout our community.

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