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Second measles case prompts county health alert

| Saturday, May 24, 2014, 8:47 p.m.

A second case of measles in Allegheny County has prompted health officials to ask people to report illnesses that come with a fever and rash after an exposure to the disease.

“They just want to make sure everyone is aware,” said county spokeswoman Amie M. Downs.

Health officials are concerned because the two incidents occurred in proximity to each other, although no link between the people has been identified, said Kristen Mertz, a medical epidemiologist with the county.

“We want people who may have been exposed and who may be susceptible to measles to just watch over the next two to three weeks for fever and rash illness,” Mertz said.

The two people, along with a third person in the county who contracted measles earlier this year, are doing fine, she said.Allegheny County Health Department has identified places where people might have been exposed to the disease:

• Office building at 2790 Mosside Boulevard in Monroeville, in the main lobby or elevator, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 16.

• Berry Quool yogurt store on Allegheny River Boulevard in Oakmont, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. May 17.

• Citizen's Bank Building, 525 William Penn Place, Downtown, in the main lobby and elevator, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. May 19; or from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. May 20.

Most people are not at risk because they have been immunized or have had the measles before. But anyone born since 1957 who has not been properly vaccinated and people with compromised immune systems are at risk. Pregnant women also might be at risk.

At-risk people who visited the locations and who come down with measles symptoms before June 10 should to contact their primary-care physician immediately. The Health Department asks that the people don't go to their doctor's office because that could expose more people.

Measles spreads by a highly contagious virus with symptoms starting seven to 21 days after exposure, according to the Health Department. The symptoms can include a runny nose, red and watery eyes, cough and high fever. After four days, a raised, red rash begins on the face and spreads down to the neck, body and extremities. The rash usually lasts four to seven days.

The disease can cause ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, inflammation of the brain and death. It also can cause pregnant women to have miscarriages or premature delivery.

Health care providers who suspect measles are asked to call the Health Department at 412-687-2243.

Andrew Conte is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7835 or andrewconte@tribweb.com.

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