State officials today confirmed a second case of measles in an Oahu resident who was exposed to a previously confirmed case reported earlier this month.
The first case, reported by the Hawaii Department of Health on April 10, was confirmed in an unvaccinated resident of Oahu upon returning from international travel.
Health Ministry officials said it had identified and contacted people who may have been exposed to this second case. They reminded the public that measles is highly contagious and can easily spread to unprotected people.
A medical advisory released today asks healthcare providers to identify, isolate and report suspected measles cases.
“Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease,” health officials said in a news release. “Healthcare providers and the public are urged to check their vaccination status to ensure they are up to date. Stay up to date on routine vaccines, including the measles vaccine (usually given for the first time at the one-year health visit as a combination MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella), protect our keiki and the wider community from measles outbreaks.”
Measles is caused by a virus that spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms usually begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, followed by a rash of tiny red spots. Infected people can spread measles from four days before to four days after a rash appears.
The last major measles outbreak in the state was in 2014, with 15 cases detected.
“Health care providers and the public are encouraged to be more aware and vigilant of possible measles infection due to recent cases in our community,” said immunization program branch chief Ronald Balajadia. , in a press release. “We are seeing an increase in measles outbreaks around the world, including recent cases reported in American Samoa.”
These two recent cases in Hawaii, however, are not linked to cases in American Samoa.