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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Public health reports 4 measles cases in Idaho unvaccinated kids

By Ruth Brown Idaho Capital Sun

Southwest District Health reported Wednesday that four more unvaccinated people in Nampa, Idaho, all children, have been diagnosed with measles.

The new cases are people exposed to the same household as the initial case reported Sept. 20. That case involved an unvaccinated adult male who was exposed during recent international travel.

There is no treatment for measles and spreading the virus puts young children at risk.

Anyone exposed should contact a health care provider and monitor for symptoms for 21 days after exposure, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Measles is extremely contagious. The virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace after an infected person leaves an area, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Measles symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and rash. Although measles is usually considered a childhood disease, it can be contracted at any age. Serious complications can include encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, pneumonia and rarely, death. People experiencing symptoms of measles should contact their health care provider and should not go into clinics, pharmacies, or other health care settings without calling ahead so the facility can make preparations to reduce the chance of spread.

“We are again reminding everyone that the best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization with the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, which protects against all three diseases,” said Ricky Bowman, epidemiology program manager with Southwest District Health through a news release. “Do not rely on other people’s immunizations to protect you. The best protection is to get yourself and your children immunized.”

According to IDHW, children should receive their first dose of the vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age and a booster shot at 4 to 6 years of age. The MMR vaccine is generally first given at 12 months of age in the United States but is sometimes recommended for children as young as 6 months who are traveling outside the United States or who could be infected in an outbreak.