Allegheny County likely to have more measles cases, health chief says
Allegheny County health officials stressed Wednesday that this week’s confirmed case of measles in Pittsburgh is not connected to the nationwide outbreak, but said it’s likely that more local residents will contract measles.
The biggest concern has been local residents traveling to states like New York or New Jersey, where there have been outbreaks, Allegheny County Health Department officials said during a Board of Health meeting.
“We have to assume that we will likely have additional cases,” Health Department Director Karen Hacker said.
Hacker emphasized that measles are highly contagious, explaining the virus can hang in the air for up to two hours after an infected person has left an area.
An Allegheny County resident — an unvaccinated adult who recently traveled abroad — was treated for measles Monday in UPMC Shadyside’s emergency room and is recovering at home.
Officials said they would continue to monitor and investigate possible cases.
Surrounding states have reported measles outbreaks in recent months, but this week’s case in Allegheny County is the only confirmed case of the measles in Pennsylvania this year.
The Allegheny County case is not connected to the ongoing nationwide measles outbreak, Health Department Chief Epidemiologist LuAnn Brink said Wednesday. Brink added that Allegheny County isn’t experiencing an outbreak.
About 97% of Allegheny County kindergartners were vaccinated during the 2017-18 school year, according to Health Department data. That’s up from about 90% of kindergartners in 2011.
Hacker said local officials are in constant contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She encouraged any unvaccinated individuals who might have been in the same areas as the county resident who was treated this week to watch for and report symptoms until May 20.
The person was potentially contagious beginning April 25, and exposures may have occurred from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and 2:45 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Giant Eagle Market District, 5550 Centre Ave., and from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. Friday at the Aldi store at 5631 Baum Blvd.
Giant Eagle said Wednesday it is working closly with the health department “to ensure we follow all suggested actions, which to date have focused on notification to our team members.”
In a statement, the grocery chain said,“Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken additional measures to clean and sanitize our store to ensure that our Shadyside Market District continues to be a safe place to shop and work.”
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .