This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A child from Salt Lake County is recovering from the measles this week after traveling abroad, making it the first confirmed case of the disease in county since 2011.
County health department officials announced the case Tuesday, calling on residents to make sure their measles vaccinations are up to date.
"Being fully vaccinated against measles does more than just protect the person who receives the vaccination," said Dagmar Vitek, department medical director. "It also protects their family and friends, including children who may be too young to be vaccinated, and helps to limit the spread of disease in the community."
Measles is a highly contagious virus that can spread through coughing and sneezing. It is, however, preventable with a vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vitek said the infected child had received "age appropriate vaccinations."
Two measles vaccines are typically administered to children under the age of 7: one between 12 and 15 months of age and another between the ages of 4 and 6, Vitek said.
"The family is very vigilant, they are doing everything they need to do," she added, though she did not specify why the child had been vulnerable to the infection.
Gary Edwards, department health officer, said Tuesday that his agency has found more than 200 potential contacts with the child in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties. Those individuals have been notified, Edwards said, but there is minimal risk of infection for the general public.
Measles symptoms which include high fever, runny nose, cough and a rash that spreads over the body usually appear within two weeks after the person is infected, the CDC states.
Complications of the disease include ear infections, pneumonia and, rarely, death, according to the health department.
Local health officials urge residents who think they may be infected to contact their local health department.
They should not, however, visit a doctor's office, hospital emergency room or clinics without notifying the facility by phone first, to allow for precautions against exposing others.
"Measles is not widespread in the U.S., [but] cases can occur when unvaccinated and in rare cases like this one, vaccinated people visit other countries where measles is more prevalent," Vitek said. "Once an infected person comes into a community, [the disease] quickly spreads to those who have not been vaccinated."