Philadelphia health officials notify residents of possible measles exposure

Measles is a virus that spreads easily, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
Sunday, December 24, 2023
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Department of Public Health issued a warning on Saturday about possible exposure to the measles virus for some city residents.

City officials, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Jefferson Health, notified people who were in the Jefferson Health building located at 33 South 9th Street (formerly known as 833 Chestnut Street) on Tuesday, Dec. 19 between 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. of a possible exposure.

That location includes practices associated with Jefferson Health and other offices, officials say.

Health officials said people who were not in the building at that time were not in any danger of measles exposure.

Measles is a virus that spreads easily, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, and puffy eyes, followed by a rash. In some cases, it can be a serious infection that leads to pneumonia, brain infection, and death.

"We believe there is no threat to the general public associated with this case of measles," said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. "We encourage people who were possibly exposed to take action if they are not protected against measles."

"The threat of measles exposure in the United States has been growing over the last decade. We strongly encourage parents to follow the CDC's immunization schedule and get their children fully vaccinated as soon as they are able. A recent measles outbreak in Ohio sickened 85 children, almost all of whom were unvaccinated. Notably, 36 children were hospitalized due to measles in that outbreak. The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective and is the best way to avoid serious complications of a vaccine-preventable disease," Dr. Bettigole's statement continued.

The health department has issued the following recommendations for those impacted:

- Anyone in the Jefferson Health building during the stated times should determine whether they are protected against measles
- Someone is considered immune if they were born before 1957, have already had measles, or have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine (check vaccination records)
- If not protected against the measles, receive a dose of MMR vaccine. Talk to a doctor or visit the health department's website

- Consult a healthcare provider as soon as possible if you are 12 months old or under, pregnant, or immunocompromised
- Measles is contagious for four days before to four days after rash starts, officials say. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces and around unvaccinated people until Jan. 9
- Contact a doctor immediately if symptoms appear through Jan. 9
- Notify the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) at 215-685-6740 if you develop measles symptoms
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