The state is warning of possible measles exposure in the State College area.
According to acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Rachel Levine, someone with a confirmed case of measles was in the area and visited three State College locations, creating an exposure risk.
The exposures could have happened at Penn State’s HUB-Robeson Center bookstore on July 7 from 3:30-7 p.m., at Lion’s Pride from 3-6:10 p.m. and at the Fraser Centre Target store from 4:50-8:30 p.m. and again July 10 from 5:20-8:30 p.m.
“If you visited these locations in the late afternoon or early evening of July 7 or 10, please contact your health care provider to determine if your immunizations are up to date,” Levine said in a release. “If you have been properly immunized against measles, your risk of getting the disease is minimal. However, if you believe you might have been exposed to measles and experience symptoms, please contact your health-care provider or call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.”
The Department of Health calls measles a “highly contagious but vaccine-preventable disease.”
Symptoms include rash, fever, cough and watery eyes, and the disease can be spread by coughing, sneezing and contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the most at-risk individuals being babies under a year old who have not yet been vaccinated, people who have not been vaccinated and people who come from areas of the world where vaccines are less common and measles more prevalent.
The Department of Health warns that vaccinated individuals can still be at risk if they received an “inactivated” vaccine (used between 1963-67) and were not re-vaccinated, or if you were born after 1957 and received only one dose of the MMR — measles, mumps and rubella — vaccine.
The possible exposure means the Penn State area has faced two of the three diseases this year.
In February, Penn State warned Thon attendees of the possible risk of exposure to mumps after an outbreak on campus. By March, there were more than three dozen probable cases of mumps at University Park. In April, the university was reporting it had investigated 77 cases.
“As always, we encourage all community members to check their immunization status with their primary care physician to ensure they have received the recommended two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and to receive the vaccine if they have not already done so,” said Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers. “Any student who believes they might have been exposed to measles and experiences measles symptoms is urged to contact University Health Services at 863-4463 or their local health care provider with questions or concerns.”
Powers said that the university’s immunization requirements require proof of MMR vaccination before arriving on campus. Those requirements are available at news.psu.edu/story/457337/2017/03/22/campus-life/penn-state-simplifies-process-submitting-immunization and studentaffairs.psu.edu/health/immunizations.