A small outbreak of measles has been reported in Virginia after a woman who had traveled to India passed the now-rare illness onto two others upon her return.
Three residents in the Thomas Jefferson Health District have been confirmed as infected. Measles, an “extremely contagious viral respiratory illness,” is airborne, and can spread quickly among those who have not been vaccinated against the infection. Patient zero of the Virginia measles outbreak was confirmed to be ill with the virus on May 19th, and Dr. Lilian Peake of the Charlottesville Health Department says the woman had some interaction with the community before she fell ill:
Peake says possible additional exposures in the community could have taken place May 20 at Charlottesville Waldorf School or particular areas of the Downtown Mall between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Those locations include the area outside The Paramount Theater between 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., Marco & Luca Dumpling Store between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. and and Chaps Ice Cream between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
People who were in those areas May 20 may have been exposed. Peake stresses that most citizens are immune to contracting the measles.
99% of people who have had two doses of measles vaccine maintain immunity to the illness. However, 90% of those who are not immune will contract measles when exposed to the illness.