Traveler with measles visited Portland area while infectious

August 11, 2018

An individual who traveled for a week throughout the Portland metro area has tested positive for measles. The Oregon Health Authority is working with Multnomah County and other local public health agencies to notify individuals of their potential exposure and to inform them of steps to take to should they become ill. At this point, no additional cases of measles have been identified.

Measles is a highly contagious virus and spreads easily to people who are not vaccinated. It is spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. People with measles can spread the virus to others before they show symptoms. The virus can also linger in the air for minutes to hours after someone who is infectious has left.

Measles is easy to catch. But vaccines are very effective.

“The bad news is that measles is a serious disease," said Paul Cieslak, MD, Medical Director for Communicable Diseases for the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. "The good news is that if you've been vaccinated you're well protected."

Officials confirmed the case  Friday, Aug. 10 in a person who was infectious and spent time in the Portland metro area between July 30 and Aug 6. Public health officials are working with area businesses where the sick individual spent time. Most people in the region have been vaccinated against measles, so their risk is low, OHA officials said. Risk may be higher for unvaccinated persons who were in the following locations:

  • July 30, PDX Airport, Terminal E, 2:15—3:45 p.m.
  • July 31, Leno Medoyeff Bridal, 710 NW 23rd Ave., Portland, 3:30—5:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 1, Tom’s Pancake House, 12925 SW Canyon Rd., Beaverton, 7—9:30 a.m.
  • Aug. 2, Max Red Line, Beaverton Transit Center to Pioneer Square, 12:30—1 p.m.
  • Aug. 2, Max Red Line, Pioneer Place to Beaverton Transit Center, 5:30—6 p.m.
  • Aug. 5, Verde Cocina, 5515 SW Canyon Ct., Portland, 2—4:30 p.m.

For this exposure, public health officials expect symptoms in anyone newly infected to appear by Mid August. There is no connection between this case and the measles cases that occurred in Multnomah County in June and July.

About measles

Measles poses the highest risk to people who have not been vaccinated, to pregnant women, infants under 12 months and people with weakened immune systems. A person is considered immune to measles if ANY of the following apply:

1.       You were born before 1957; or

2.       You are certain you have had the measles; or

3.       You have been fully vaccinated against measles (two doses).

"This is another example of how measles can suddenly appear in our community," says Multnomah County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. "By all means make sure you and your loved ones are vaccinated against this very contagious, potentially serious disease."

The symptoms of measles start with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a red rash that usually begins on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. People are contagious with measles for four days before the rash appears and up to four days after the rash appears. Common complications of measles include ear infection, lung infection, or diarrhea. Swelling of the brain is a rare but much more serious complication. For every 1000 children with measles, 1 or 2 will die from the disease.

After someone is exposed, illness usually develops in about 2 weeks, sometimes longer. Oregon public health officials ask anyone who believes they have symptoms of measles to avoid exposing others in waiting rooms by first calling their health care provider or urgent care by telephone.

Anyone with questions about measles infection or the measles vaccine should call their primary care provider or their county health department. For more information on measles for the public, visit OHA or call:

  • Clackamas County Public Health 503-655-8411
  • Clark County Public Health 360-397-8182
  • Multnomah County Public Health 503-988-3406
  • Washington County Public Health 503-846-3594
  • Yamhill County Public Health 503-434-7525