Bethlehem Press

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Dept. of Health alerts public of possible measles exposure

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by The Press in Local News

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine Oct. 14 alerted residents who visited several locations in the Allentown area between Oct.7-12 they may have been exposed to measles.

The locations and times when residents may have been exposed include:

• 7350 office building, 7350 Tilghman St., 9:30-11:45 a.m. on Oct. 7;

• 1251 S. Cedar Crest Blvd. Office building, main lobby of the building, 2:30-4:35 p.m. on Oct. 7;

• Quest Diagnostics, 1608 W. Allen St., 8-10:30 a.m. on Oct. 8;

• Lehigh Valley Hospital, 1200 S. Cedar Crest Blvd, 9:15-11:45 a.m. on Oct. 12 in the proximity of the Emergency Department.

“A patient in Lehigh Valley Hospital has a confirmed case of measles, which can be highly contagious,” Levine said. “The Department of Health is working with the Allentown Health Bureau and Lehigh Valley Health Network to notify Pennsylvanians who were in these locations during the identified times and areas; however, if you have been properly immunized against measles, your risk of getting the disease is minimal. If you believe you might have been exposed and experience symptoms, please contact your health-care provider or call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.”

To date, 16 cases of measles have been confirmed in Pennsylvania in 2019.

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control has reported that 1,250 cases have been reported in the United States in 2019. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992.

Measles is a highly contagious but vaccine-preventable disease that spreads through coughing, sneezing or other contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person.

Symptoms typically appear one to three weeks after exposure and include: rash; high fever; cough; and red, watery eyes.

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control those most at-risk are:

• Infants less than one year of age who are too young to have received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine;

• Individuals who refused vaccination; and

• Individuals from parts of the world where there is low vaccination coverage or circulating measles.

Additionally, even if you were vaccinated, you may still be at risk if you were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used from 1963 through 1967, and have not been revaccinated; or you were born after 1957 and have only received one dose of MMR vaccine.

For more information on measles visit the Department of Health website at health.pa.gov.