Health officials confirm more measles cases in Okmulgee County

Measles confirmed in Oklahoma

TULSA, Okla. — Quick Facts:

  • Oklahoma health officials have confirmed a total of four measles cases in Okmulgee County
  • The first case in the state was confirmed on May 15th in an Okmulgee County patient.
  • Officials say that first patient attended a Pre-K graduation at New Beginnings Church (4104 E 151st St. S.) in Bixby on May 7th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Health officials from the Tulsa Health Department are collaborating with New Beginnings Church and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to identify anyone who may have visited during this specific timeframe to inform them of their exposure and provide recommendations.
  • Health officials originally warned those who visited the Saint Francis Glenpool emergency room on May 11 between 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. about potential exposure to the virus
  • The three new cases are close contacts of the initial case. They were announced May 29.
  • This is a developing story. DOWNLOAD the FOX23 News App for live updates sent to your phone.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health confirmed a total of four cases of measles in Okmulgee County.

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The first case of the virus in Okmulgee County is in a person who returned to Oklahoma after traveling to various domestic and international destinations.

The additional three cases are close contacts of the initial patient.

The virus is still common in many parts of the world with outbreaks occurring in Europe, Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines.

They now say that original patient visited New Beginnings Church, 4104 E. 151st St. S. Bixby, on May 7, from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for their end of the semester program and Pre-K graduation ceremony.

Health officials from the Tulsa Health Department collaborated with New Beginnings Church and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to identify anyone who may have visited during this specific timeframe to inform them of their exposure and provide recommendations.

Health officials worked with Saint Francis Glenpool to identify and inform those who visited the hospital's ER on May 11 between 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. They are at risk of exposure to the virus.

Saint Francis Health System released the following statement when they were still awaiting test results:

"A suspected case of measles was identified at one of our ambulatory facilities. A notice was sent out to our medical staff apprising them of the potential case while awaiting final results from the Department of Health. As with all public health issues, the Department of Health will oversee the release of information regarding this case." - St. Francis Health System

These are the first confirmed cases of measles in Oklahoma since May 2018.

U.S. health officials told the Associated Press this year's count of measles cases has surpassed 800, a growing tally that is already the nation's highest in 25 years.

The bulk of that number is made up of the increasing amount of cases in New York.

People born between 1957 and 1989 may be under-vaccinated for measles and not know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and some doctors are recommending they receive another dose of the vaccine.

Anyone who is concerned about a possible exposure should contact public health officials at 800-234-5963.

THD will offer the MMR vaccine at no cost to those exposed, to encourage them to be up-to-date on their vaccines. The vaccine is readily available at all immunization clinics. 

Symptoms

  • People usually develop symptoms about 10 days after exposure with a range of 7-21 days. Symptoms begin with a mild to moderate fever, runny nose, red eyes, and cough. A few days later, a rash appears starting on the face spreading to the rest of the body accompanied by a fever that can reach up to 105 degrees.
  • Symptoms range from severe to milder, depending on the individual.  Measles can lead to pneumonia and other complications, especially in young children and adults over 20.
  • The disease can also cause serious problems in pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.
  • People with measles can spread the virus up to four days before the onset of the rash and until four days after the rash starts.

Prevention

  • Measles can be prevented with the measles vaccine (usually given in combination with rubella and mumps, called MMR vaccine).
  • The vaccine is recommended for all children at 12 to 15 months of age and again at four to six years of age. If a person has not received a second dose of the vaccine between four to six years of age, the booster dose may be given at any age thereafter.
  • The measles vaccine is very effective. One dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses are about 97% effective.

FOX23's Shae Rozzi took a look at the risks and benefits to vaccinations:

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