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3 cases of measles confirmed in Maricopa County

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Thursday, September 1, 2022 - 2:24pm
Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2022 - 2:27pm

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One adult and two children in Maricopa County recently contracted measles, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health

In all three cases, the individuals were unvaccinated. One was hospitalized, but all three are now recovering.

Dr. Nick Staab, medical epidemiologist with Maricopa County Public Health, told KJZZ News the three cases are linked. Now, officials are trying to make contact with others who may have been exposed.

“We are identifying where these individuals might have been while they were contagious," Staab said. "Measles is a very contagious disease, so it’s important to identify any contacts, make sure that if they are unvaccinated that they know of their risk.”

Measles is known to be one of the most infectious viruses on the planet. It can linger in the air for up to two hours and it will infect 90% of unvaccinated people who come into contact with it. Symptoms appear seven to 12 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose, or rash. In the most serious cases, measles infections can lead to brain damage or even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

graphic showing Measles is Highly Contagious
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"Even if you recover from measles, there's a chance that years down the road you can have severe complications," Staab said. "Measles is definitely not a disease you want to take your chances with. There's a very effective vaccine and everyone should be vaccinated against measles." 

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is given routinely in early childhood. But MMR vaccination rates have been steadily falling among Maricopa County kindergarteners over the past decade. According to state records, about 95% percent of Maricopa County kindergarteners were vaccinated for measles in 2011. As of 2021, the rate was about 91%.