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State and County Officials Confirm Two Cases of Measles in Arizona

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 27, 2016

Arizona Department of Health Services issued the following news release: 


News Release

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2016

Holly Ward
Arizona Department of Health Services

Courtney Kreuzwiesner
Maricopa Co. Department of 
Public Health

Joe Pyritz
Pinal County Public 
Health Services District

State and county officials confirm two cases of measles in Arizona
Recommended: check immunization status immediately and be aware of symptoms

ARIZONA — The Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Pinal County Public Health Services District have confirmed two cases of measles in Arizona. Both are recovering.

One of the cases may have exposed the public at the following times and locations:

  • Saturday, May 21, 2016: Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 North Maricopa Road in Maricopa from approximately 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM (May 22).
  • Sunday, May 22, 2016: Arco AM/PM Store, 2245 East Florence Boulevard in Casa Grande from 8:30 AM until 11:00 AM.

The other case did not have exposure to public places and does not pose a risk to the public.

“Measles is a highly contagious yet vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “It is spread through the air and through coughing, sneezing, and contact with mucus or saliva from the nose, mouth, or throat of an infected person.” You may be protected from measles if you were vaccinated for measles or if you have previously had the disease. You are immune to measles if you have received two Measles, Mumps, and Rubella [MMR] vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine. Health care providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department.

The illness begins with symptoms which include fever (101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose. A rash that is red, raised, and blotchy appears after several days. The rash begins on the head at the hairline and moves down the body.

“Symptoms can appear up to 21 days after exposure,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director and disease control administrator for Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “Based on what we know now for the above exposures, if you have not developed measles symptoms by June 13, 2016, you have not been infected. A person with measles is considered to be contagious as soon as symptoms start and can last four days after the rash appears.”

What to do if you think you have measles:

  • If you have a health care provider, contact them by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.
  • If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles.

The measles cases originated in the private Eloy Detention Center. Seven additional measles tests are being conducted at the Arizona State Laboratory. The facility has taken steps to prevent further spread within the detention center.

For information on signs and symptoms of measles, or where you can find vaccine, please visit Medical questions should be directed to your health care provider. For outbreak-related questions, community members may call 602-839-2275.

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