Health officials warn of measles threat
State and county health officials are warning Northern Arizona residents about the threat of potential exposure to the measles virus after an out-of-state visitor with measles traveled through the area during early August.
Although Arizona Department of Health officials said this week there are currently no known cases of measles in the state, the out-of-state visitor may have exposed people at seven different locations in Sedona as well as a restaurant in Kingman between Aug. 6 and Aug. 8.
According to the health department, the out-of-state visitor was at Sedona’s Slide Rock State Park from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. and a resort in the 500 block of Boynton Canyon Road, Sedona, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6.
On Aug. 7, the same individual visited restaurant and market in the 300 block of Highway 179, Sedona, as well as a mechanic in the 1400 block of Highway 89A, Sedona, and a car rental business in the 2000 block of Highway 89A, Sedona, between 12:10 and 4 p.m.
Also on Aug. 7, the out-of-state visitor with measles was at a shopping mall and a restaurant there, in the 300 block of Highway 179, Sedona, from 6 to 10:45 p.m.
On Aug. 8, the out-of-state visitor was at a restaurant in the 3500 block of Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, from 8 to 10:45 a.m.
“It is extremely important to make sure you are fully immunized against measles,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“You may be protected from measles if you were vaccinated for measles or if you have previously had the disease,” Christ said. “We know measles circulates in other parts of the world. There is always a possibility that visitors to tourist destinations in Arizona could introduce measles into our state, which is one of the reasons why measles vaccination is so important.”
Measles begins with symptoms which include fever (101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose. A rash that is red, raised and blotchy appears after several days. The rash begins on the head at the hairline and moves down the body.
People infected with measles can be contagious up to four days before the rash appears, when people may not recognize they have measles.
In warning of the measles threat, a statement issued by state health officials cautioned those who believe they may have been exposed to seek medical attention.
“If you have a healthcare provider, contact him/her by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area.”
“If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room or urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles.”
For more information about measles, go to azhealth.gov/measles.
Information provided by the Arizona Department of Health.