Measles Case Reported in Allegheny County; Physicians Need to Be Alert

The Allegheny County Health Department has alerted the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the local media that a case of measles has been confirmed in a fully vaccinated (two doses in childhood) 22-year-old man.

The patient, a resident who works in a research center in a large cancer hospital in Allegheny County, was exposed on Jan. 31, 2014, to a confirmed case of measles in New York State.

In light of the overall increase in measles cases being seen in the U.S. in recent years, DOH asks that all health care providers maintain a high level of suspicion for measles in persons with a febrile rash illness, especially in those with no history of measles vaccination.

DOH also reminds providers that, while most people are not at risk because they’ve been immunized or have had the measles, the following groups are still susceptible:

  • Anyone born since 1957 who has not received two doses of effective measles vaccine known as MMR. This includes:
    • Infants too young to have been immunized
    • People who were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used from 1963 through 1967, and have not been revaccinated
    • People who refused vaccination
  • Persons whose immune systems are compromised due to disease or medication.

If measles is suspected, immediately report it to DOH by calling 877-724-3258, and your county health department if appropriate. Providers suspecting measles are also reminded to advise patients not to expose others, arrange for an exam in an isolated area, use face masks, and obtain specimens for testing, including viral specimens for confirmation and genotyping.