CMU grad student diagnosed with measles; others might have been exposed

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department confirmed Friday a fully vaccinated, Carnegie Mellon University graduate student was diagnosed with measles.

According to a news release, the student was potentially contagious from Jan. 17-25 and was on the Carnegie Mellon University campus, as well as Port Authority buses between Oakland and Squirrel Hill.

"I don't know if we'll stop taking the buses because we kinda go everywhere on those," said CMU student Sarina Stein.

Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the student lives off-campus.

Symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure and include a runny nose, red and watery eyes, cough and high fever. A raised, red rash will also appear.

If you are experiencing these symptoms now, or do by Thursday, you're advised to consult your doctor.

"A little concerned. Will definitely be on the lookout for the symptoms," Stein said.

While most people are not at risk because they've been immunized or already had measles, there are still groups that can be susceptible.

"You wouldn't assume it was the measles if you got these symptoms so it's good to know it could be, I guess…. A little scary.," Stein said.

Complications from the measles can include ear infection, pneumonia, encephalitis and even death.

Allegheny County health officials reported a confirmed measles case in an Allegheny County resident.

The resident diagnosed with measles was potentially contagious from January 17-25, 2018. During that time, the individual was on the Carnegie Mellon University campus and also rode Port Authority of Allegheny County buses between Oakland and Squirrel Hill multiple times during that time frame. While specific bus routes or time of day are not known, it appears the individual rode on the 61A, 61B, 61C or 61D routes. ACHD has been working closely with both Carnegie Mellon University and the Port Authority so they may also notify their respective constituencies.

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD)  is urging anyone who is susceptible to measles, may have been in the same location during the indicated times, and become ill with symptoms of measles between now and February 15 to contact their primary care provider immediately.

“If you believe you have symptoms of measles, and have been in the locations noted above, please contact your primary care provider immediately to notify them that you may have been exposed,” said ACHD Director Dr. Karen Hacker. “Do not go directly to the office, urgent care center or emergency room, as this may expose other persons. Pregnant women should contact their doctor about their immune status. Health care providers who suspect measles should call the Health Department at 412-687-ACHD (2243) for consultation and to arrange testing.”

Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus. Symptoms begin 7 to 21 days after exposure and include a runny nose, red and watery eyes, cough and a high fever. After four days, a raised, red rash begins on the face and spreads downward to neck, trunk and extremities. The rash usually lasts four to seven days.

An individual with measles can spread the virus to others for four days before and four days after the rash begins. It is spread by infected droplets during sneezing or coughing, touching contaminated objects, and direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions. Infected droplets and secretions can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours.

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