Measles confirmed in Portland; how you can protect yourself and your children
Public health officials say about 500 people have been exposed to a confirmed case of measles in the Portland, Ore., area. Forty people who were exposed are being monitored because they have not been immunized.
Measles is highly contagious. The virus is spread through sneezing or coughing, and it can linger in the air, sometimes for hours. The disease has been mostly eliminated in the United States, but some people can become infected while traveling abroad.
You are considered immune to measles if you have been vaccinated.
Measles starts with a fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Next comes a cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. That’s followed by an all-over rash of tiny red spots.
The disease is rarely fatal, but it can be serious for young children and lead to pneumonia and other serious consequences.
The best way to protect yourself or your children is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is safe and effective, and the CDC recommends that children get their first dose at 12-15 months of age, and a booster at age 4 to 6.
“Measles is a serious disease,” said Dr. Richard Popiel, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Regence. “It’s important to be up to date on vaccinations to protect yourself and others and stop the virus from spreading.”
Recommended vaccines, including measles, are part of your preventive health insurance benefits, meaning there is no out-of-pocket cost to you. If you are an adult and don’t know or can’t remember whether you have been vaccinated for measles, ask your doctor to be vaccinated. Repeating the shot won’t hurt you. You can also get a vaccination at some pharmacies.
If you have questions, check with your doctor, or call us at the number on the back of your member ID card.