SEATTLE -- Public health officials are investigating eight confirmed cases of measles in south King and Pierce counties, with a possible ninth case still being investigated.
According to officials, health agencies have reported seven confirmed cases and another probable case that occurred between June 10 and June 22.
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The cases of measles are among members of the same extended family, which are linked to another case. A person returned to the United States from the Pacific Islands on May 26 with measles.
The known public exposures occurred at several MultiCare health care facilities, where the infected individuals were treated, including a hospital in Tacoma.
Medical professionals said the outbreak is particularly concerning for young children who are not vaccinated against measles until they are 12-15-months-old. A second dose is give in the 4-6 year ranges, according to the Center for Disease Control website.
As of Thursday, five people have sought care at the following facilities and were later identified as having measles. They may have exposed others to the virus.
Here are the details about the exposures:
- MultiCare Covington Emergency Department and Imaging (dates of exposure: Jun. 13, Jun. 21 and Jun. 22)
- MultiCare Mary Bridge Pediatrics Clinic, Maple Valley (Jun. 19)
- MultiCare Covington Pediatrics (Jun. 13, Jun. 14)
- MultiCare Mary Bridge Emergency Department (Jun. 11)
- MultiCare Kent Urgent Care Clinic (Jun. 10)
Medical staff members at the facilities are directly contacting individuals who were present during the times of potential exposure.
A spokeswoman for MultiCare said her staff is alerting all patients who might have been exposed by phone and e-mail. No signs were posted at any of the clinics.
Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough and red, watery eyes. It is mainly spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.
Health officials are urging the public to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.
Anyone without a regular health care provider who think they might have measles can contact their local health departments: King County residents should call the Measles Hotline at 206-296-4949 or Pierce County residents should call 253-798-6410, option “0.”