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Possible Measles Case Reported by Mount Nittany Health

by on April 19, 2019 8:59 AM

UPDATE: The case has tested negative for measles, a state health department spokesman confirmed on Friday night.

Original story:

Mount Nittany Health Physician Group Pediatrics in Boalsburg reported a possible case of measles to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday.

Anissa Ilie, communications coordinator for Mount Nittany Health, said that the office remained open in accordance with Department of Health guidelines, but that out of caution other patients were called and given the option of rescheduling their appointments.

"[O]ut of an abundance of caution, the Mount Nittany Physician Group Pediatrics location at Mount Nittany Health – Boalsburg immediately reported a possible case of measles to the Pennsylvania Department of Health Thursday morning and followed all DOH guidelines to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Our first priority is to protect the health of our patients and the community."

The case has not, as of yet, been confirmed as measles and no measles cases have been confirmed this year in Pennsylvania.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 555 cases of measles have been reported in 20 states this year through April 11, making it the largest second largest number of cases since measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. 

Measles is a highly contagious virus spread through coughing and sneezing. According to the CDC, it typically begins with symptoms including a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out, usually beginning as red spots that appear on the face and hairline, and then spreads downward across the body.

Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine received as a child are considered effective in preventing the virus.

Measles outbreaks in any given year are generally attributed to an increase in the number of travelers abroad who get measles and bring it back to the U.S. and the further spread in U.S. communities with pockets of people who are unvaccinated, according to the CDC.

Common complications from measles include ear infections and diarrhea. More severe, though less common complications, include pneumonia and encephalitis.

Penn State and other college campuses have seen outbreaks each of the past few years of another contagious disease covered by the MMR vaccine — mumps. Penn State recently reported that at least three cases of mumps have been confirmed on the University Park campus, with two more suspected. At Temple University in Philadelphia, more than 100 mumps cases have been reported during an outbreak this year.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are also considered effective for mumps, which also spreads through sneezing, coughing and saliva exposure. However, many of the cases at Penn State and other colleges have been found in individuals who received both doses. In 2018, the CDC issued guidelines recommending a third dose for people identified as having an increased risk of contracting mumps during an increase in cases, such as those in a close-contact setting like a college campus.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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