Local Case of Measles

By: Dr. Heather Davies
The Maryland Department of Health reported on Wednesday, May 24th, 2018 that an individual in Montgomery County, Maryland has a confirmed case of measles.  The individual contracted the disease outside of the United States but did not develop symptoms until arriving in the U.S.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The first signs of illness include high fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and a sore throat. Subsequently, the infected person develops a red rash that starts on the head that then spreads to the trunk and lower extremities. The average incubation period from the time of exposure until symptoms of measles is 11–12 days [1], and the average interval between exposure and rash onset is 14 days, with a range of 7–21 days.[2, 3]
Receiving the MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella) vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and family members from measles.  Children should receive their first dose of MMR between 12-15 months of age and their second dose between 4-6 years of life.  The exception is children who are traveling internationally. Children 6-11 months who are traveling internationally should receive a dose of the MMR vaccine prior to travel.  The CDC recommends children 12 months of age or older should have documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine (the first dose of MMR vaccine should be administered at age 12 months or older; the second dose no earlier than 28 days after the first dose) prior to international travel. One dose of MMR vaccine is approximately 93% effective at preventing measles; two doses are approximately 97% effective according to the CDC.
The dates, time, and location of potential exposures to the individual infected with Measles in Montgomery County are:

  • Tuesday, May 15 – Washington Dulles International Airport at 1 Saarinen Circle, Dulles, VA, International Arrivals and baggage claim area from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 17 – Nordstrom Rack, 15760 Shady Grove Road, Gaithersburg, MD, from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, May 18 – Circuit Court of Maryland, 50 Maryland Avenue, Hearing Room 2K, Second Floor, South Tower, Rockville, MD, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone exhibiting possible symptoms of measles should immediately limit their exposure to other people.  Our patients with a possible exposure to measles who have not previously received 2 doses of the MMR vaccine should contact us at (301) 279-6750 or call the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ Disease Control Office at 240-777-1755 prior to visiting our office or another healthcare facility.  Taking these steps reduces the chances of potentially exposing other people to measles.

  1. Klinkenberg D, Nishiura H. The correlation between infectivity and incubation period of measles, estimated from households with two cases. J Theor Biol 2011;284(1):52–60. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.06.015
  2. Strebel P, Papania MJ, Gastanaduy PA, Goodson JL. Measles vaccine. In: Plotkin SA, Orenstein WA, Offit PA, editors. Vaccines. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2017. p. 579–618.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Measles. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Kimberlin DW, Long SS, editors. 2009 Red Book: report of the committee on infectious diseases. 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009. p. 444–6.