Health Watch | Woman may have spread measles in Kirkland, Bellevue or Redmond


The above story ran on King 5 and is hosted on

Measles has a very long incubation period of up to three weeks, meaning the all clear cannot be sounded until January 10th.

Local public health officials have learned of a confirmed case of measles in a King County adult female who was exposed during international travel. She is an unvaccinated adult who developed symptoms on December 12 after returning to King County. The woman was not contagious during travel, but she did have several health care visits and community exposures subsequently. She was not hospitalized during her illness and is recovered.

Because most people in our area are vaccinated against measles, the risk to the general population is low. Persons who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants less than 6 months of age and persons with weakened immune systems are at higher risk if exposed to measles and should contact their health care providers promptly if they develop an illness with fever or an unexplained rash illness.

The period of time when members of the public could have been exposed is December 11 through December 20. If they become ill with measles, they would be expected to develop rash onset between December 18 and January 10.

Public Health notified affected healthcare facilities and locations where community members may have been exposed. Persons who were at the following King County sites between December 11 through December 20 (times noted) were possibly exposed to measles:

December 11, 2009

Thumra Thai Restaurant, 12549 116th Ave. NE, Kirkland, WA from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Totem Lake Cinema, 12232 Totem Lake Way, Kirkland, WA, 9:30 p.m. showing of Rocket Singh

December 12, 2009

Evergreen Urgent Care Redmond, 8301 161st Ave NE, Redmond, WA from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fred Meyer Bellevue, 2041 148th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

December 16, 2009

Bartell Drugs Bellevue, 16116 NE 8th St, Bellevue, WA from 3 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

People who may have been exposed are asked to look out for symptoms and contact their health care provider if they become ill.

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a highly infectious and usually severe illness that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. The rash begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Fever (often greater than 101° F), cough and other symptoms begin two to four days before the rash appears.

People are immune to measles if they had measles or were properly vaccinated. People who lack immunity can get measles if exposed. Exposed people who are either not immune or unsure of their immunity should contact their health care provider. This is especially important for people at the greatest risk for severe illness: those under one year of age, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems.

Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after the exposure to measles occurred. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.

Measles spreads easily among susceptible persons and can result in serious infections complicated by pneumonia, encephalitis, seizures, and death. Most persons born before 1957 had the disease in childhood, and younger persons are routinely vaccinated against measles, both of which provide protection against the disease.

Persons with possible measles should call their health care provider before coming in to be seen to avoid exposing other vulnerable patients, and should wear a mask covering the nose and mouth, avoid public places, and minimize contact with others.

Click here for more information on measles.