TUCSON, Ariz. — The first case of measles in the state of Arizona was confirmed last night at around 5 p.m. in Pima County.
According to the Pima County Health Department, A 12-month-old child, who was not vaccinated and recently traveled to Asia, was diagnosed.
This is the first diagnoses for Pima County since 2015. That incident involved one person.
However, the health department said the last time Pima County had a Measles outbreak was in 2008. This involved 13 people, but no one died.
Both other incidents were also travel-related.
Measles is a highly-contagious, vaccine preventable disease.
"Symptoms of measles include a high fever, usually 101 degrees or higher, red, watery eyes, a runny nose and a cough," Deputy Director for the Pima County Health Department Paula Mandel said. "This follows a blotchy, red rash that starts on the hairline and progresses down the body."
She said symptoms start showing up seven to 12 days after exposure, but sometimes wait as long as 21 days.
The disease spreads through the air, so when one individual is standing next to another with Measles, they could catch the disease.
"Not only is it the symptoms there experiencing with measles, but there is always the opportunity that a secondary infection could development, because there immune system is already weak with measles," Mandel said.
According to the Arizona Health Department, from 2012 to 2017, the rates for immunizations have decreased. This means 5,000 kindergartens in Arizona would be a rick for Measles if an outbreak occurred.
The disease isn't curable, so doctors are only able to treat patients for their symptoms.
This is why the health department stresses the importance of getting a vaccine.
"It's really important that if you have any questions or concerns about vaccinations that you ask questions, whether it's your physician or go to an urgent care setting or come to the health department," Mandel said. "We want to make sure that you're comfortable receiving that vaccine."
A person is immune to measles if they have received two doses of the MMR vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine. Health care providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department.
What to do if you think you have measles:
• If you have a healthcare provider, contact him/her by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.
• If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles.
For more information about Measles, visit the heath departments website.
The Arizona and Pima County Health Departments are currently investigating the whereabouts of the child once they arrived back in the United States, before they were diagnosed.
We'll continue update this as the investigation continues.