Measles confirmed in Salt Lake County, first case since 2017

Mar 23, 2023, 2:23 PM | Updated: 2:34 pm


Measles rash on skin. (File photo)

(File photo)

SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time since 2017, a measles case has been confirmed in Utah.

The Salt Lake County Health Department learned of the case Wednesday, immediately started a disease investigation and announced it Thursday. It said in a news brief that exposures to the infected person were limited to the person’s family members and in a “health care setting.” Contact tracers notified those possibly exposed and advised unvaccinated people to get vaccinated immediately.

“Receiving the measles vaccine after an exposure can prevent illness if the vaccine is administered within 72 hours of the exposure,” the health department said in a release.

Measles, also called rubeola, is a virus that spreads easily and can be serious, or fatal, for children. It hasn’t been widespread in the U.S. in decades because of high vaccination rates. Symptoms include a skin rash, spots that form in the mouth, a sore throat, runny nose, dry cough and a fever of 101 F or higher. It may last approximately a week.

“Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease,” Dr. Angela Dunn, the county’s health department executive director, said. “The measles vaccine is safe and effective: two doses provide about 97% protection and one dose is about 93% effective.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine starting when a child is 12 to 15 months old.

“While over 90 percent of children in Utah schools and childcare facilities are adequately vaccinated, there are still people in our community who are not protected,” Dunn said. “Being fully vaccinated against measles does more than just protect the person who receives the vaccination; it also protects their family and friends, including children who may be too young to be vaccinated, and it helps limit the spread of disease in the community.”

The press release said while measles was declared eradicated in the U.S. long ago, travel outbreaks still happen, and in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and African, an estimated 142,000 people die from the disease each year.

To learn more about immunizations in Salt Lake County, click here.

The infected person’s identity was not release.

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Measles confirmed in Salt Lake County, first case since 2017