Health officials warn public about measles outbreak

ISSAQUAH, Wash. -- The King County Health Department has issued a health alert of a slightly different kind. They're warning people about measles after a case was recently reported in Issaquah.

Health officials say the outbreak started at Sea-Tac Airport when a traveler on layover brought in the highly contagious illness. It spread to a staff member at Issaquah's Tiger Mountain Community High School, where other employees, students or visitors could have been exposed on Jan. 23-25.

"Hopefully, most people have had their vaccinations and they don't have to worry about it, but yeah it's surprising," said Issaquah resident Dana Francis.

The staff member also visited the QFC and Starbucks at Klahanie Drive during that time, and that's all anyone at the Starbucks is talking about.

"I haven't hear about it in a long time. I had measles when I was little. We weren't given vaccinations back then," Francis said.

Measles mainly spread through the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes. Because most people in the area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, the King County Heath Department says the risk to the general public is low.

But some people are considered high risk.

"That would be an infant, pregnant woman, someone who has immunosuppression. Those people who were at the exposure sites need to contact their health care providers about watching their health and possibly taking vaccine or medication to prevent them from getting infected," said Dr. Jeff Duchin.

Anyone who's not immune to the measles could develop symptoms within the next two weeks. Symptoms include a high fever, a cough, red and watery eyes and a rash.