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Measles Outbreak Confirmed In Allegheny County With Potential Exposure Reported At Pittsburgh International Airport

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Four more cases of measles have been confirmed in Allegheny County, and one of the infected individuals was at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Allegheny County Health Department director Dr. Karen Hacker says with a total of five measles cases in the area, this is now considered an outbreak.

The Allegheny County Health Department says four new cases involve one family.

KDKA's Lisa Washington Reports:


Three family members, including two children and one adult, are not county residents and are visiting from overseas. The two children are unvaccinated and the adult is reportedly vaccinated.

The fourth family member is an adult Allegheny County resident. That individual was unvaccinated.

Watch the health department's briefing --


Two individuals have not reportedly been outside of the house while they were infectious.

Health officials say they cannot comment on where exactly in Allegheny County the individuals are staying, but they say the family members will be quarantined in their home.

One individual is currently at the hospital. That individual was at the Enterprise Rental located at 2260 Babcock Blvd. between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, which means there may have been a potential exposure between 2 p.m and 5 p.m.

Health officials say there was no exposure or risk to any patients, visitors or health care workers at the hospital. They are not naming the hospital where the patient is receiving care. The patient is being assessed and is in stable condition.

The family member who is now recovered was infectious while travelling. The only reported public exposure for this individual may have occurred at the Pittsburgh International Airport on Tuesday, April 16 between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

If an individual who is not immune to measles was exposed at the airport, they could get a rash between April 23 and May 7.

Anyone who is susceptible to measles or who becomes ill with symptoms of measles is urged to contact their primary care provider immediately, but they are asked to not go directly to an office, urgent care center or emergency room to avoid exposing other individuals.

Measles is spreads through coughing, sneezing or other contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person. Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough and red, watery eyes.

Pregnant women should contact their doctor about their immune status. Health care providers who suspect measles should call the Allegheny County Health Department.

"Given the infectious nature of this disease, we're going to be on high alert, obviously, to make sure that when we hear about other cases, that we do the appropriate investigation. Our hope obviously is that there will be minimal additional cases," Hacker said.


Tuesday, the health department reported the first case of measles in Allegheny County. Health officials say that case is unrelated to the four new cases reported Thursday.

An unvaccinated adult was treated and discharged from the UPMC Shadyside emergency room on Monday and is currently recovering at home.

The resident traveled internationally about two weeks before becoming ill, and this case is not linked to any ongoing measles outbreak in the United States.

The health department said the resident was potentially contagious starting on April 25 and potential exposures may have occurred at the following locations and times:

  • Giant Eagle Market District (5550 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232)
    • Friday, April 26, 2019: 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Sunday, April 28, 2019: 2:45 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • ALDI (5631 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15206)
    • Friday, April 26, 2019: 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

The Health Department says anyone who has been exposed would start showing symptoms between now and May 20.

The people most at risk to catch measles are infants under the age of 1 who are too young to have received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, individuals who refused vaccination or cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and individuals from parts of the world where there is low vaccination coverage or circulating measles.

"I do think that the vast majority of the population is likely to be immune to measles and will have nothing to worry about, but we do have individuals, for whatever reasons, who may not be immune," Hacker said.

According to the Allegheny County Health Department, one dose of the MMR vaccine is 93% effective and two doses is 97% effective.

"The most important thing you can do to prevent measles is to get vaccinated. We recommend that all children get vaccinated at 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years. All adults should have at least one MMR vaccine, and if you were born before 1957, you are considered immune to measles," Dr. Kristen Mertz, of the Health Department, said.

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control makes the following recommendations for vaccinations:

  • Children 12 months or older should have two doses, the first at age 12 to 15 months and a second dose between 4 to 6 years.
  • Healthcare personnel, college students, and international travelers should have two doses of MMR.
  • Adults born during or after 1957 should have at least one dose of MMR or documented evidence of disease. Adults born before 1957 are considered immune.
  • For international travel, infants 6 to 11 months should have one dose of MMR, and children 12 months of age and older should receive 2 doses of MMR, separated by at least 28 days.

The measles vaccine is available at the Health Department's immunization clinic located on the fourth floor of 425 First Ave. in Downtown Pittsburgh. The clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It's open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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