EUGENE, Ore. – Lane County officials are concerned people from Eugene may have traveled to the Portland area and been exposed to measles amidst an outbreak of the preventable disease in southwest Washington.
Health officials in Clark County, Washington, have confirmed 23 cases of measles since Jan. 1 as of Tuesday. There are two other suspected cases.
Clark County is just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.
And many of the locations where people could have been exposed – the Portland airport, IKEA, Costco, even a Blazers game at the Moda Center – are in Oregon.
“They visit Portland quite a bit, they visit there for shopping and for entertainment – as do people from Eugene,” said Jason Davis with Lane County Public Health. “So what our major concern is is that people from Eugene are going up to Portland, visiting some of these places are exposed to measles and are then bringing the measles back down here to Lane County.”
Davis called measles an “equal opportunity infector.” The highly contagious disease can cause brain-swelling in children in some cases. One case can result in 16 others.
The county urges people to know whether or not they are vaccinated against measles. Many adults may not know.
Davis also urged people to “practice good respiratory hygiene” by covering their cough, and dispose of tissue paper.
Most importantly: If you fall ill, stay home.
“The first sign of measles is a fever, a runny nose, a cough. Once you have that fever, please stay home. You are contagious and you could pass this on,” Davis said. “We’d like our community to be vigilant and aware it might be here.”