Calaveras County public health officials have ended an investigation of a suspected measles case in a child younger than 5 after determining that no one else was likely infected with the highly contagious disease.
A news release sent out Friday morning by the county Health and Human Services Agency and Public Health Division stated that the incubation period, or the length of time a disease is in someone’s body before they look or feel sick, has passed and anyone else potentially infected would have already developed signs and symptoms by now.
The agency was notified by a local health care provider on Sept. 29 of the suspected measles case in the child, who had not been vaccinated for the disease, which prompted a public announcement of places where others could have been exposed.
“Cooperation by local health providers is essential in our ability to quickly respond to a potential public health concern,” the agency said.
Measles spreads through air droplets and is present in the nose and throat of an infected person. The virus can live for up to two hours in the air when the person with measles coughs or sneezes. People can also be infected when they breathe in the virus or touch an infected surface, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
The virus is considered to be so contagious that it can spread to 90% of people around an infected person if they are not protected. A child can also get the measles by being in a room where a person with the measles has been, even up to two hours after the person has left.
Infected people can spread measles from four days before through four days after the rash appears.
Symptoms can appear one to two weeks after infection. They include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, and then are followed by a rash starting along the hairline or behind the ear three to five days after symptoms begin.
While measles is considered very contagious and serious, Calaveras County public health officials noted that it’s also preventable through vaccination and encouraged parents to check the vaccination status of their children to make sure they are all up-to-date.
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is recommended for immunity to measles, with the first dose typically given at 12 to 15 months of age and, the second, at 4 to 6 years old.
People who have received two doses of measles vaccine as a child are protected for life. Adults need at least one dose if they are not sure whether they were vaccinated.
Vaccines can be obtained through a regular medical provider.