Department of Health Warning: Possible Measles Exposures in Perry and Dauphin Counties
While investigating a cluster of measles cases in Perry County, the state Department of Health has identified a suspected case of measles that could have exposed other persons while infectious.

The possible exposures could have occurred at the following times and locations: • Wednesday, Feb. 2, between 5:50 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at a book sale that took place in the basement of the Newport Public Library, 316 North 4th Street, Newport. • Friday, Feb. 4, between 4 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. at the Lowe's Home Improvement Store, 4000 Union Deposit Road, Harrisburg.

Most people in the United States are immune to measles, either because they received the Measles Mumps Rubella, or MMR, vaccine in childhood, or because they were exposed to measles in the pre-vaccine era.

However, the following groups of individuals are at risk of becoming infected with measles: • Infants less than one year of age who are too young to have received the MMR vaccine; • Persons who were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used from 1963 through 1967, and have not been revaccinated; • Persons born after 1957 who have only received one dose of MMR vaccine; • Those who refused vaccination; and • Those from parts of the world where there is low vaccination coverage or circulating measles.

If you or your children are at risk for measles and become ill with the symptoms of this disease (see below) one to two weeks after possible exposure, you should tell your healthcare provider that you've been exposed to measles so that precautions can be taken to avoid exposing anyone else.

Health care providers who suspect measles should call the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH for consultation and to arrange testing.

Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus. Symptoms will begin one to two weeks after exposure and include a runny nose, watery eyes, cough and a high fever. After four days, a raised, red rash starts to spread on the face, down the body and out to the arms and legs. The rash usually lasts four to seven days. An individual with measles can spread the virus to others for four days before and four days after the rash begins. It is spread by infected droplets during sneezing or coughing, touching contaminated objects, and direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. Infected droplets and secretions can remain contagious on surfaces for up to two hours.

Complications from measles can include ear infection, diarrhea and pneumonia, encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain), and even death. Measles can also cause miscarriages or premature delivery in pregnant women.

The MMR vaccine is given to toddlers when they are 12 to 15 months of age, and a second dose is required for all Pennsylvania school children. However, individuals who have received only one dose of the vaccine, instead of the recommended two doses, may still be at risk of infection with this virus. The MMR vaccine can help prevent infection if it is given within three days of exposure. There is no risk in getting an additional dose of the MMR vaccine for individuals who may have already received it.

For those in whom MMR cannot be given (pregnant women, infants under 6 months of age, persons with compromised immune systems), or if it has been more than three days since your exposure, a dose of immune globulin can provide protection up to six days after the day of exposure.

If you are not immune to measles and want to receive MMR or immune globulin, ask your healthcare provider or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

For more information about measles, see the Pennsylvania Department of Health's website at