Durham, N.C. – Durham County public health officials said Monday that students and staff at a local kindergarten may have been exposed to measles last week.
Officials issued a warning Saturday that a possible exhibition could have been held at Bean Traders, a 105 W. N. C. coffee shop on Highway 54 last Monday. Dr. Arlene Seña, Medical Director of the County of Durham Health Department, said Monday that The Goddard School's families with their children and school staff have also been informed that they were looking for possible symptoms of the disease.
Seña said that the first tests on a person returned positive for measles, but that these tests must be confirmed by a national laboratory. The results are expected later this week.
The initial positive test could come from antibodies in the person's blood after receiving a measles vaccine, she explained.
She declined to indicate whether the suspect case was an adult or a child, nor to provide details of how the possible exposure occurred in two places.
Public health officials were at The Goddard School at 5300 Fayetteville Road on Monday morning to review vaccination records, test people and vaccinate them.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread by coughing, sneezing and contact with the secretions of the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person.
Seña said that 90% of exposed people are infected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 1,022 cases of measles in 28 states this year, she said. North Carolina has had no confirmed cases this year, but there were three last year, all of which were people who had traveled outside of the state. , she said.
The symptoms of measles usually appear in two stages. In the first stage, most people have a fever of over 101 degrees, a cough, a runny nose and red, watery eyes. The second stage begins between the third and seventh days, when a rash begins to appear on the face and spreads to the whole body.
Officials said people should be alert for any symptoms by 1 July.
Anyone with first-stage symptoms should stay home to reduce the risk of exposing others, officials said. If the symptoms of the second stage develop, call a doctor to discuss care, warned officials, warning people not to go to the office or in an emergency room to avoid exposing others .
Measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine, can be prevented. Two doses are recommended for most individuals, the first at the age of 12-15 months and the second before kindergarten. One dose of MMR vaccine is 93% effective against measles and two doses of MMR vaccine are 97% effective.
Seña urged people who were in one of the two places last Monday and who have not been vaccinated or who are pregnant or whose immune system is weakened, to call the Department of Public Health of Durham County at 919-560-HELP.