The Department of Health and Welfare sent out a news release on Sept. 27 announcing that an additional four people have contracted measles in Nampa, Idaho.

All four people were children and were unvaccinated. They were in the household of the initial measles patient and contracted the virus from him.

The infected people are currently being monitored. People who may have come in contact with the measles patients are being notified, but it is still a possibility that some of these people have not been identified.

According to the Department of Health and Welfare press release, Dr. Christine Hahn, Idaho state epidemiologist and medical director for the Division of Public Health at the Department of Health and Welfare, said, “Measles is very infectious. We are hopeful that this disease does not spread more widely in the community.”

Outside BYU-I Student Health Center

Outside BYU-I Student Health Center Photo credit: Olivia Grayson

According to the press release, measles can affect any age group but it is most common in children. People who are exposed to measles should contact their medical provider and be monitored for 21 days after they are exposed. They should not go to public places without consultation from a doctor.

Measles can result in severe complications. These include encephalitis, pneumonia and death. Currently, measles does not have a specific treatment.

According to the press release, Ricky Bowman, the epidemiology program manager with Southwest District Health, said, “We are again reminding everyone that the best way to protect yourself and your family against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases is by immunization with the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, which protects against all three diseases.”

Most pharmacies and healthcare providers offer the MMR vaccine. Usually, children between 12 and 15 months are given the first dose of this vaccine. The booster shot is then given between the ages of 4 and 6.

Individuals should contact their healthcare provider if they are feeling symptoms. For more information on measles, visit the CDC website.