Pa. health officials warn of possible measles exposure

Visitor to I-81 welcome center was diagnosed

GREAT BEND, Pa. - Pennsylvania health officials are warning residents about a possible measles exposure at an Interstate 81 welcome center near the New York border.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Friday that a visitor to the Endless Mountains Welcome Center was diagnosed with measles, which can be highly contagious. The visitor stopped at the center about 8 p.m. May 12, according to the state.

"If you have been properly immunized against measles, your risk of contracting the disease is minimal," health Secretary Karen Murphy said in a prepared statement. "We encourage anyone who is unsure about their measles vaccination status to contact their health care provider or call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH."

The Endless Mountains Welcome Center is located on Interstate 81 South in Great Bend, near the Pennsylvania-New York border.

Measles spreads through coughing, sneezing or other contact with the mucus or saliva or an infected person, according to the health department. The disease is "highly contagious but vaccine preventable," according to the state.

Symptoms usually appear one to three weeks after exposure and include rash, cough, high fever and red water eyes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that those most at risk include:

  • Infants less than 1 year old who are too young to have received the measles, mumps and rubella or MMR vaccine;
  • Individuals who are not vaccinated;
  • Individuals from parts of the world where there is low vaccination coverage or circulating measles.

Someone vaccinated may still be at risk, if the person was vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine that was used between 1963 and 1967 and not reactivated. Someone born after 1957 who received only one dose of MMR vaccine is also at risk.

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