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County reports case of measles.

Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard

Lane County Public Health officials Tuesday confirmed a case of measles in Lane County that's believed to be linked epidemiologically to the so-called Disneyland Cluster in Southern California.

It's the first reported case of measles in Lane County since 2007.

The local case involves a man in his 40s who lives and works in Eugene, county public health spokesman Jason Davis said. His workplace has been alerted, Davis said.

The man visited Disneyland with his wife and family in December, which is when the outbreak is believed to have originated, Davis said. The man still is checking health records to learn whether he was ever vaccinated for measles, Davis said.

"Measles is a huge deal," Davis said. "In terms of communicability, how readily a disease is transferred, on a scale of 1 to 10, this would be a 11."

Davis said that, on average, one case of influenza results in two new cases. Measles, by contrast, typically produces 16 to 18 new cases for each confirmed case.

"If you're in the financial world, that's exponential growth," Davis said.

The measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has nearly doubled in size since last week, with 45 reported cases in California and seven more illnesses confirmed in at least three other states and Mexico, health officials told NBC News on Monday.

The Lane County case now makes Oregon at least the fourth state outside of California believed to have at least one case of measles linked to the Disneyland Cluster - following previous reports in Utah, Colorado and Washington.

Measles is an acute, highly contagious viral disease that begins with flulike symptoms that progress into high fever and a rash that covers the whole body. Symptoms usually take 10 days to 12 days to appear, and a person is able to transmit the virus from four days before to four days after rash onset, Davis said.

Measles is rarely life-threatening, but very young children, people who are older or people with suppressed immune systems are at a higher risk of pneumonia, brain infection and death.

"The best way to protect yourself from the virus is to get the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine," said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Lane County's public health officer, in a statement. "Most people got it when they were less than a year old, but it is never too late to protect yourself."

In Oregon, two doses of measles vaccination, given at least four weeks apart, have been required for schoolchildren since 1998. People are considered immune to measles if they received those vaccinations or if they have had measles in their lifetime.

Lane County Public Health officials are "conducting a full epidemiological investigation to determine the potential reach and contacts of this case," Luedtke said.

If a person thinks they may have the measles, they should stay home and call their health care provider from home, Luedtke emphasized. "Don't go into the doctor's office or clinic, because you may be putting those around you at unnecessary risk," he said.

Davis said the first symptom associated with measles that is different from flu symptoms is red or irritated eyes, and a sensitivity to light. People are most contagious from four days before symptoms surface to four days after the rash subsides.

For more information, residents can call Lane County Public Health at 541-682-4041.

The initial "outbreak exposure period" has been pegged from Dec. 17 to 20 at Disneyland, California health officials have said. Among the confirmed cases to date, at least 36 people have been linked epidemiologically to spending all or parts of those same days at the Anaheim resort, records show.

Mexican officials have confirmed one measles case in a 22-month-old, unvaccinated girl who visited the theme park Dec. 16 to 18. In Utah, there are three cases. Washington has two cases, and Colorado has one. Those numbers are expected to rise.

Many health experts maintain that the measles spread is being fueled by the portion of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. An estimated 1 in 10 people is potentially susceptible to the virus, a contagious disease expert at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles said.

"The present outbreak relating to Disneyland ... is sort of the perfect storm," Dr. James Cherry told NBC News. "People are coming to Disneyland from all over and then (you may) have one or perhaps two or three people who has measles, but didn't have the rash, and they exposed a lot of people."

Nationally, 539 cases of measles have been confirmed thus far in the 2014-15 season, compared with about 40 to 100 cases in a typical year, Davis said.

Locally, Davis noted that immunization rates in Oregon and California are falling. "As that happens, we'll see more of these cases," he said.

Among rates of parents who seek exemptions to vaccination, "Oregon's is the worst in the nation," Davis said. "That's something we're concerned about and are trying to do some outreach about."

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_s_wright. Email
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Title Annotation:Health; The Eugene man might have been exposed to the disease at Disneyland
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jan 21, 2015
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