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Friday, February 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Second case of measles confirmed in Spokane County

A second person in Spokane County has contracted measles, the Spokane Regional Health District announced Wednesday afternoon.

Last week, the first measles case in Spokane County in more than 20 years was confirmed.

Health district spokeswoman Kim Papich said more cases are likely.

“Measles is highly contagious,” she said. “There’s rarely just one case.”

Like the first case, the new patient is unvaccinated and came in “close contact” with the first patient. The second patient is an adult and has not needed to be hospitalized.

People were exposed to the second measles patient at Madeleine’s Cafe, 415 W. Main Ave., from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at WinCo, 9257 N. Nevada St., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Anyone who was at those locations at those times and is unvaccinated should call their health care provider if they start experiencing symptoms, which include a high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and rash.

Health district officials declined to say if the new patient works at Madeleine’s. They said it matters to the public where an infected person was, not what they were doing or if they were handling food.

Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing and can remain in the air and on surfaces up to two hours, according to the health district. All locations where the two infected people were are now safe for the public.

A person infected with measles will not get a rash until several days after cold-like symptoms begin, said district epidemiologist Dorothy MacEachern. People are contagious before the rash appears. Unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the measles should stay home if they think they are getting a cold, MacEachern said. People who believe they may have measles should contact the health district or their medical provider before going to a setting where other people may be exposed.

Papich said officials have been in touch with Bloomsday organizers about Sunday’s race, but the risk of exposure is lessened in the open air.

Health district officials still have not identified how the first Spokane County patient was exposed. Fifty unvaccinated people who came in contact with that person have been advised to stay home for 21 days. Some of those people are under mandatory quarantine, MacEachern said. Others have just been strongly advised to stay home. The district checks in with those people once or twice a day by phone.

The health district was aware that the person most recently confirmed with measles had a high risk of contracting the disease, but officials struggled to make contact with him or her until after the person exposed others, MacEachern said.

The most recent measles patient was in proximity to the first measles patient while the first person was contagious, MacEachern said. But the contact was not in public locations.

Another 250 who came in contact with that person were vaccinated or had proven immunity to measles, the district said.

According to the state Department of Health, during the 2013-14 school year, only 81 percent of students enrolled in schools in Spokane County met the usual requirements for vaccinations.

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