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UO officials rely on rules to prevent measles outbreak.

Byline: Tim Christie The Register-Guard

In the wake of three cases of measles involving foreigners in Corvallis and Portland, University of Oregon health officials are hopeful that safeguards they have in place will keep any students here from getting the disease.

Earlier this month, two foreign students at Oregon State University were confirmed to have the disease. Last week, state public health officials announced that a third foreigner - a traveler who arrived in Portland for business on a Lufthansa flight from Germany - had been diagnosed with measles.

The state has a policy for all incoming college students that requires them to show proof that they've either already had the measles or they've had two immunizations, said Dr. Ben Douglas, assistant medical director at the UO Health Center.

In the alternative, students can sign a religious exemption to vaccines.

"But if they don't have a reason to be exempted or can't provide documentation, then they are required to get updated immunization," he said.

If they don't get immunized by the end of first term, they're not allowed to register for second term, he said.

The last major outbreak of measles in Lane County occurred in spring 1990, when health officials confirmed 50 measles cases. Most cases involved students at Willamette High School, while other cases were confirmed among students at Lane Community College, the University of Oregon, Sheldon High School, Fern Ridge Middle School and Fairfield Elementary School.

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that is transmitted through the air. It usually begins with a cough, runny nose, eye irritation and fever.

These symptoms are followed by a red, blotchy rash that begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

People with measles can be contagious for several days before the rash appears and for up to four days afterward.

Public health officials cautioned that people with a rash illness should not just show up at their physician's office or the emergency room.
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Title Annotation:All incoming college students must show proof of having had the disease or being immunized against it; Health
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 2, 2003
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