Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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Authorities urging measles vaccinations

A man visiting Las Vegas from Italy on June 20 and 21 was later diagnosed with measles so Southern Nevada Health District officials are now encouraging local residents to make sure they're vaccinated against the disease.

"Our focus is on trying to prevent an outbreak," said Brian Labus, senior epidemiologist at the Southern Nevada Health District. "This is not a major public health threat."

The risk of disease is low for people who have been vaccinated against measles or have been diagnosed with the disease, Labus said.

But unvaccinated adults and children could be at risk if they had contact with the man, Labus said.

Health officials said they don't know where he stayed or what he did while in Las Vegas. He did tell health investigators that he visited the Las Vegas Strip, Labus said.

Measles can be spread among susceptible people and can result in serious infections that can result in pneumonia, encephalitis, seizures and death.

Many people born before 1957 had measles as children, and younger people today are routinely vaccinated against it before they can attend school.

Health officials are urging people to check their immunization history. Anyone who develops symptoms needs to seek medical attention.

Symptoms typically begin about 10 days after exposure. They include a fever as high as 103 to 105 degrees for two to four days, a runny nose, cough and red eyes follow and about two weeks after exposure the telltale rash appears. The rash can last five to six days.

The health district is offering immunizations Monday through Friday at five clinics in and around Las Vegas. For more information, call 759-0850.

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