Fauquier County is the latest possible Northern Virginia measles exposure site being investigated by the Virginia Department of Health (VDOH).
Specifically, visitors to the Fauquier Health Emergency Department (500 Hospital Drive in Warrenton, VA) from Monday, June 17, at 3:10 p.m., until Tuesday, June 18, at 12:35 a.m. are warned to be on the lookout for measles symptoms if they are unprotected by the measles vaccine.
In the early stage (first day or two) after the initial exposure, you should watch for a fever of over 101 degrees, watery eyes, cough, and a runny nose. Later stage symptoms occur between three and seven days after the exposure and include the tell-tale pink or red rash that starts on the face and can spread to the rest of the body. For this particular exposure site, affected people may see symptoms as late as July 9, 2019.
If you think you were exposed at the Fauquier Health Emergency Department at the specified times, what you do next depends on which category you fall into as far as vaccinations.
People who have received at least two measles vaccinations (for example, an MMR) are considered protected and don't need to do anything.
People who have only received one measles vaccination are likely protected but should get a second dose of the measles vaccine to be on the safe side. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider, let them know of your possible exposure, and arrange for the second dose of the vaccine.
People who have never received a measles vaccine are at a high risk of contracting the measles if exposed. Contact your doctor or a healthcare provider to discuss next steps. You can get the measles vaccine through your doctor or even a walk-in clinic. It is imperative that you let your healthcare provider know you may have been exposed to measles prior to seeking treatment.
According to the CDC, confirmed measles cases are highly contagious through sneezing and coughing. You can contract the disease by breathing expelled droplets, touching infected surfaces and then touching your own eyes, mouth, or nose. The disease can be transmitted up four days before the rash appears and for up to four days after it appears.
The infographics in this article are courtesy of the CDC.
For more information, read the VDOH press release dated June 19, 2019. You can also call the Fauquier Health Department at (540) 316-6400.