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Fairfax County investigates possible measles exposure earlier this month

Measles (via CDC)

The Fairfax County Health Department is investigating a possible measles exposure in the area.

Health officials believe an individual with the disease may have exposed residents earlier this month, they announced today (Monday).

Three possible dates are being investigated:

  • Grand Centreville Plaza on Feb. 1 between 11:45 a.m. and 3 p.m., and on Feb. 3 between 2:15 and 5 p.m.
  • Inova Fairfax Hospital’s pediatric and adult emergency departments on Feb. 3 between 5;30 and 9 p.m.

Measles is highly contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with droplets in the area. Symptoms first manifest in the first stage with a high degree fever, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough.

The second stage begins when a rash is visible on the face and spreads over the entire body.

Based on the date of exposure, health officials believe that residents could develop symptoms as late as Feb. 24.

Here’s more from the health department on what to do if you believe you may have been exposed:

If you have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine (either the measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR] vaccine or a measles only vaccine which is available in other countries) you are protected and do not need to take any action.

If you have received only one dose of a measles containing vaccine, you are very likely to be protected and your risk of being infected with measles from any of these exposures is very low. However, to achieve complete immunity, contact your health care provider about getting a second vaccine dose.

If you have never received a measles containing vaccine nor had a documented case of measles, you may be at risk of getting measles from this exposure. Contact your local health department or health care provider for advice on possible intervention to decrease your risk of becoming infected or other precautions you need to take. If you notice the symptoms of measles, stay home and away from others, and immediately call your primary health care provider or health department to discuss further care. Call ahead before going to the office or the emergency room and tell them that you were exposed to measles.

The Virginia Department of Health offers information about the illness online. Residents with questions can call the county at 703-688-3471.

Photo via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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