Measles Cases Confirmed on Maui and Kauaʻi

October 23, 2014, 10:09 AM HST · Updated October 24, 5:49 AM
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By Maui Now Staff

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health has confirmed three cases of measles in the state, one on Maui and two on Kauaʻi.

Health Department officials say the cases on the two islands are not related to each other and have separate travel histories, but all cases involve unvaccinated young adults with recent travel either to the Philippines or Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Measles is highly contagious, spreading through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing, and infecting 90% of the contacts who are not immune,” said Dr. Sarah Y Park, state epidemiologist in a department press release.

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“Measles outbreaks continue to occur both internationally and on the mainland, especially in areas where vaccination is declining. As travel increases during the holiday season, so does our chance of seeing more cases,” she said.

Since January, there have been 594 cases of measles reported in 22 states according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including two cases in Hawaiʻi reported earlier this year in February.

With the additional recently confirmed cases, Hawaiʻi now has a total of five confirmed cases reported in the state this year, according to state health officials.

The department advises that the best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated, and is urging everyone to check their immunization status and contact their healthcare provider if they need to be vaccinated.

The state Department of Health says the symptoms of measles generally begin about 14 days (range 7 to 21 days) after a person is infected and may include the following: blotchy red rash; fever; cough; runny nose; red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis); and feeling run down, achy (malaise).

Another characteristic symptom is Koplik’s spots, which are not always present, but appear as tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth.

Individuals who suspect they have measles should call their doctor right away and isolate themselves from others to help contain the spread of illness, health officials said.

***For a list of pharmacies vaccinating adults, visit the following LINK.

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