Possible measles exposure at 3 more Pa. locations, including National Aviary, Squirrel Hill | TribLIVE.com

Possible measles exposure at 3 more Pa. locations, including National Aviary, Squirrel Hill

Natasha Lindstrom
The Allegheny County Health Department confirmed last week four new cases of measles, all from members of the same family who traveled to and around Pittsburgh from mid-April through last Wednesday.

Visitors and workers at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh’s North Side, a Squirrel Hill restaurant and an Avalon thrift shop may have been exposed to measles last month, health officials said Monday.

The Allegheny County Health Department confirmed last week four new cases of measles, all from members of the same family who traveled to and around Pittsburgh from mid-April through last Wednesday.

More details became clear Monday about their whereabouts while contagious.

A child diagnosed with measles may have been infectious while traveling on a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Terminal C of Newark Liberty International Airport, followed by a connecting flight that landed at Terminal A of Pittsburgh International Airport on April 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

“There were potential exposures at both airports and on the flights,” CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said.

The child has since recovered, health officials said.

Three of the child’s family members, including two adults and one child, also contracted measles. One remained hospitalized as as of last week.

Of the four family members, three were visiting the area from overseas, and one was an unvaccinated Allegheny County resident, officials said. Only two of them left the house while infectious, according to the health department.

Sites of possible exposure

Places in Western Pennsylvania where the public may have been exposed to measles in recent weeks include:

• Pittsburgh International Airport; flight from Newark arriving between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. April 16

• Milky Way restaurant on Murray Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on April 17

• Red White & Blue Thrift Store at 935 Ohio River Boulevard in Avalon, between 11:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. on April 24

• The National Aviary at 700 Arch Street between 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. April 28

• Enterprise Rent-a-Car on Babcock Boulevard, between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on May 1.

Measles spreads to 23 states

The latest confirmed measles cases in Allegheny County prompted officials to warn of a possible outbreak and brought the number of known cases countywide in recent weeks up to five.

Prior to disclosing the four cases involving the same family, the health department reported a confirmed measles case involving an unvaccinated Allegheny County resident who recently traveled abroad. That woman was treated at UPMC Shadyside hospital and is recovering at home, officials said.

Nationwide, at least 764 measles cases have been confirmed in 23 states since Jan. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

The number reflects the most cases of measles reported in the U.S. since 1994.

Last year, the United States saw 17 measles outbreaks, with 82 people known to bring measles from other countries, the greatest number of such cases since measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. A majority brought measles back from Israel, the CDC said.

Most Americans immune

Health officials emphasized that most Americans are immune to measles, including those who have received vaccines, were born prior to 1957 or already have had measles.

But they also advised anyone who is at risk or becomes ill with symptoms to call their primary care doctor immediately.

Officials discouraged people who believe they may have the illness from going directly to an emergency room, urgent care center or doctor’s office without making prior arrangements, to prevent possible exposure to others.

“People with confirmed or suspected cases of measles should remain home and not travel while contagious,”Burden said.

Measles is a highly contagious but vaccine-preventable disease that spreads through coughing, sneezing or other contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person. Symptoms typically appear one to three weeks after infection and include rash, high fever, cough and red, watery eyes. An individual with the disease is contagious from roughly four days before the onset of the rash to four days after the rash appears.

RELATED: What you need to know about measles

The CDC advises children get two doses of the vaccine, one at 12 to 15 months old and a second at 4 to 6 years.

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.

For those unable to receive vaccines from their primary care doctors, the health department runs a vaccine clinic 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays at 425 First Avenue, Fourth Floor, Downtown Pittsburgh.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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