TULSA, OK – [May 23, 2019] – The Tulsa Health Department and the Oklahoma State Department of Health have partnered to investigate a confirmed case of measles in Okmulgee County. The confirmed case was announced by OSDH on May 15, and is the first confirmed case of measles in Oklahoma since May 2018. As of Jan. 1, there have been at least 880 cases of measles reported in the United States from 24 states. This is the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994.
Through information obtained from the ongoing investigation, health officials want to alert anyone who visited New Beginnings Church, 4104 E. 151st St. S. Bixby, on May 7, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for their end of the semester program and Pre-K graduation ceremony about potential exposure to the measles case. Health officials from the Tulsa Health Department are collaborating with New Beginnings Church and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to identify anyone who may have visited during this specific timeframe to inform them of their exposure and provide recommendations.
Individuals are protected if they are immunized with two doses of a measles-containing vaccine after their first birthday, or if they were born during or before 1957, or if they have previously had the measles. Anyone who is concerned about a possible exposure should contact public health officials at 800-234-5963.
Measles was confirmed on May 15 in a person who returned to Oklahoma after traveling to various domestic and international destinations. The virus is still common in many parts of the world with outbreaks occurring in Europe, Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines. These outbreaks have resulted in travelers who develop illness in the U.S. following their return. In addition to the high number of cases, there are outbreaks ongoing in several states.
THD will offer the MMR vaccine at no cost to those exposed, to encourage them to be up-to-date on their vaccines. The vaccine is readily available at all immunization clinics. View information about locations and hours at www.tulsa-health.org/vaccines.
Immunization records may be obtained at www.tulsa-health.org/shotrecords, or through your private health care provider or school.
People who are susceptible to measles usually develop symptoms about 10 days after exposure with a range of 7-21 days. Symptoms of measles begin with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough. A few days later, a rash appears starting on the face spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees. Symptoms can range from severe to milder, depending on the individual. Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20. The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.
People with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash and until four days after the rash starts.
Measles can be prevented with the measles vaccine (usually given in combination with rubella and mumps, called MMR vaccine). The vaccine is recommended for all children at 12 to 15 months of age and again at four to six years of age. If a person has not received a second dose of the vaccine between four to six years of age, the booster dose may be given at any age thereafter. The measles vaccine is very effective. One dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses are about 97% effective.
For more information about measles and the importance of immunizations, visit www.tulsa-health.org.
Tulsa Health Department
Since its establishment in 1950, the Tulsa Health Department serves as the primary public health agency to more than 600,000 Tulsa County residents, including 13 municipalities and four unincorporated areas. The agency is one of two autonomous local health departments in Oklahoma, with statutory public health jurisdiction throughout Tulsa County and the City of Tulsa. THD’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of all Tulsa County residents, in order to make Tulsa County the healthiest county in the country. THD was among the first health departments in the U.S. to receive national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board. For more information, please visit www.tulsa-health.org.