The first measles case in Idaho since 2001 has been confirmed in Latah County, according to a Wednesday news release from Public Health — Idaho North Central District.

The case adds to the 81 reported in Washington state since the current measles outbreak began earlier this year, according to the Washington State Department of Health. It is the first case east of the Cascade Mountains, with all other cases occurring in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Clark counties.

Seventy-one of those cases occurred in Clark County, where the outbreak is believed to have started.

According to a Gritman news release, a patient came into Grtiman Medical Center on Friday and staff recognized the potential symptoms associated with measles.

Gritman staff isolated the individual in a negative pressure containment room to protect others from infection and immediately notified the public health department.

After the individual left Gritman, all areas of the hospital where the person was present were cleaned and disinfected.

Mike Larson, a nurse with the Public Health — Idaho North Central District, said the infected person will remain at home until they recover.

He said the person was exposed after traveling internationally, but fortunately was not infectious while they were flying.

“That’s a giant headache we avoided,” he said.

The age and residence of the patient is unknown. However, 52 of this year’s cases have involved those ages 10 or younger.

Grtiman is advising those who were at the hospital Friday between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. for laboratory or diagnostic imaging services and have not been vaccinated for measles or have never had the disease to contact Public Health — Idaho North Central District.

Gritman advises anyone who believes they or someone they know has measles to self-quarantine at home to prevent spreading the virus. Do not go to public spaces or interact with others. Call a doctor or clinic to get instructions.

According to Public Health — Idaho North Central District, symptoms of measles include fever, cough and red, watery eyes, followed by a rash. Symptoms begin 7 to 21 days after exposure.

“The best way to avoid getting measles is to be vaccinated against it,” Larson said.

He recommended people call their health care provider if they do not remember whether they have been vaccinated.

Public Health — Idaho North Central District is collaborating with Gritman Medical Center and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to appropriately handle the situation.

Larson said all Gritman staff are required to be vaccinated.


Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to akuipers@dnews.com.

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