The Virginia Department of Health (VDOH) just announced three possible measles exposure sites in Northern Virginia.
According to the official announcement, a recently diagnosed patient with measles came into contact with the public at:
- Dulles International Airport in Terminal A and Baggage Claim level on Sunday, June 2, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center, 15225 Heathcote Boulevard, Haymarket, VA, in the emergency department on Sunday, June 2, at 11 p.m. through early Monday, June 3, at 4:30 a.m.
- Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, 3600 Joseph Siewick Drive, Fairfax, VA, in the emergency department, including the waiting area, on Tuesday, June 4, from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
If you were in any of these three places at the times listed above, watch for the warning signs of measles.
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.
If you think you were exposed at any of the three locations 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 MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine is the most effective method of protecting yourself against the measles, with the CDC citing that two MMR doses are 97 percent effective and one dose is 93 percent effective against the disease. Children can receive an MMR vaccine at 12 months and older.
For more information about the possible measles exposure sites in Virginia, review the official VDOH announcement. You can also call and speak to someone about your concerns at 571-233-7314.
Have you or a family member ever had the measles? Tell us about your experiences in comments.