Home > Community, Health, Measles > Health Department Confirms Measles Case in Douglas County

Health Department Confirms Measles Case in Douglas County

A recent visitor to Omaha has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of measles (rubeola). The individual attended community events during the contagious period when they could have infected people who are not immune to measles through either vaccination or history of illness.

The events included:

  • The Madagascar Exhibit at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo on Friday, May 7th
  • Any morning Mass at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church on both Friday, May 7th and Sunday, May 9th.
  • HyVee Grocery Store on 156th and Maple on Friday, May 7 in the morning.
  • The Target Store at 132nd and Maple on Thursday evening, May 6, after 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 8, after 4 p.m.

If a person attended one of the events on the dates listed above and develops symptoms of measles, they should call their healthcare provider right away to discuss their symptoms and their potential exposure before showing up at a clinic. The provider will advise them to either come to the clinic or arrange a visit at a different location so that other people are not exposed. Those who were infected at the events listed above could develop symptoms as soon as May 14th.

Those most at risk of being infected with the measles are anyone who has had one dose or no doses of MMR vaccine, or who has not previously had the measles. Most people less than 35 years of age who followed school entry requirements and had two doses of MMR vaccine have a very low risk of developing measles. Anyone who failed to get the required two doses is at high risk if they were exposed to a person shedding the measles virus. If you have not received two doses of MMR vaccine, you should consider vaccination at this time, especially if you were at one of the locations listed above.

Symptoms of measles generally begin within 7-14 days after exposure and usually in about 10 days. A typical case begins with fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes and a sore throat. Two or three days after the symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after the start of symptoms a red or reddish brown rash appears on the face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness. It spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. It is so contagious that any person who is exposed to it and is not immune probably will get the disease.

About 30% of measles cases develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, diarrhea and in rare instances, encephalitis. These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years old. Even in previously healthy children, measles can be a serious illness requiring hospitalization. As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, and about one child in every 1,000 who gets measles will develop encephalitis. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. Measles also can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage, give birth prematurely, or have a low birth weight baby.

People are protected against measles if they have been adequately vaccinated with measles vaccine or if they have had measles in the past.

Some points to remember about immunity to measles:

  • People born prior to 1957 are considered to be immune because at that time most people were infected with measles as children.
  • Two doses of measles-containing vaccine are considered evidence of adequate vaccination for school-aged children, college students, and adults born in or after 1957 who are healthcare personnel or frequent international travelers.
  • Preschool children one to four years of age should have had at least one dose of measles containing vaccine.
  • Infants less than 12 months of age are too young to be vaccinated and should be monitored closely for symptoms if they attended one of the events listed above and the child’s physician should be consulted.
  • Other adults born in or after 1957 who are not healthcare personnel or frequent international travelers and cannot confirm that they have been vaccinated or had measles in the past should consider getting a dose of vaccine at this time to minimize their risk of acquiring measles in the future.

Measles Information

General questions and answers about measles from the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC)

General Information on measles vaccination

Measles information page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Information for Healthcare Providers

Notices to Healthcare Providers

Clinical Information for Healthcare providers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

If you have questions, please call your physician or the Douglas County Health Department at 444‐3400, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Adi Pour, Ph.D., Director
1819 Farnam St., #401
Omaha, NE 68183

Categories: Community, Health, Measles
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