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International visitor to Las Vegas may have exposed locals to measles

Updated March 15, 2019 - 4:00 pm

An international traveler with measles may have exposed some Las Vegas residents to the disease during a visit earlier this month, the Southern Nevada Health District said Friday.

The patient, whose immunization status was unknown as of Friday, visited Las Vegas between March 9-11, the district said in a news release.

Possible exposure may have occurred between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on March 9 at Treasure Island and between 11 p.m. March 10 and 6 a.m. March 11 in the emergency room at Desert Springs Hospital.

“The risk of disease is low for persons previously vaccinated against measles or (previously) diagnosed with the disease,” a news release said. The alert was sent “so that valley residents have an opportunity to receive a measles immunization.”

If anyone develops symptoms, they are urged to contact their doctor before visiting a clinic, the release said.

Measles is highly contagious. Symptoms typically develop one to two weeks after exposure and can include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.

A few days after the onset of symptoms, a rash will break out, often spreading from head to toe.

Measles vaccinations are highly effective, according to the health district. Despite concerns which have spread through social media and fraudulent research studies that the measles vaccination can cause autism, research has shown the vaccine is safe.

Becoming infected with measles, however, can lead to long-term complications and even death.

One county in Washington had confirmed 72 cases of measles as of Friday, an outbreak tied to an increase in the number of unvaccinated children in the area. One of those cases resulted in hospitalization, according to the local public health department.

For information on immunizations, call the Southern Nevada Health District at 702-759-0850.

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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