Health officials warn of possible measles exposure in Allentown

Bob Brooks Image
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Health officials warn of possible measles exposure in Allentown
Health officials warn of possible measles exposure in Allentown. Bob Brooks reports on Action News at 10 on Oct. 14, 2019.

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Monday evening Joanne Butler walked into a medical building on South Cedar Crest Boulevard. She didn't expect to be there.

But that's where she was being tested to see if she has the vaccine for measles.

"They said we need you to call this phone number and gave me a number and said it was an infectious disease," she said.

Butler is one of many people who was likely exposed to the viral disease around the Allentown area.

The State Department of Health confirms a patient at Lehigh Valley Hospital has measles.

Butler was in the hospital ER for her daughter at the same time the infected patient was.

"They said this was open till 9 tonight to make sure anyone who might need to have a test done can get one," she said.

It's confirmed the sick patient was at four locations on these dates:

  • 7350 office building, 7350 Tilghman St. on October 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • 1251 S. Cedar Crest Blvd. office building, main lobby of the building, on October 7 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:35 p.m.
  • Quest Diagnostics, 1608 W. Allen St. on October 8 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Lehigh Valley Hospital, 1200 S. Cedar Crest Blvd, on October 12 from 9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in the proximity of the emergency department

The health department is urging anyone who believes they were at one of the locations on the dates above to contact the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

On Monday, Dr. Luther Rhodes with the health network says measles can spread very fast.

"Once that series, that chain reaction starts, it just goes on and on," he said.

He says in the beginning symptoms are like that if the flu, but then progress with a rash which can spread to your face, palms, arms and chest.

In some rare cases the effects could be long-lasting, he said.

"A relatively small number but important number of people with measles go on to get brain damage, heart damage or even seizures. It's not common. But tragic because this is preventable," Rhodes said.

Rhodes also said if you've got the vaccine, you're fine.

If you don't have it and were exposed, you have three days to get the measles vaccine.