Mar 23, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Negative Measles Tests End Threat in Pennsylvania

Jan 05, 2015 04:00 PM EST

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a public health warning on Sunday, Dec. 28 warning of the potential for measles exposure, which they believe may have occurred at a local CVS Pharmacy in Wayne, Pennsylvania.  The next day they also reported another potential exposure at the Please Touch Museum.

Fortunately, these potential measles threats have all tested negative, and it appears that the measles outbreak is no longer considered a threat by health officials.

"Based on initial information received from those involved in the treatment of the individual and based on initial investigation by the department, it was believed this was a likely case of measles and public notification was made out of an abundance of caution," Health Secretary, Michael Wolf says. "Measles is a highly contagious disease and there is a small window of time after exposure to receive the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine or immunoglobulin for those who have not been vaccinated...Since Wednesday, further investigation was conducted and samples were taken for testing by the state's lab, which confirmed the individual has tested negative and there is no public health risk for measles at this time."

According to the CDC, the measles is a highly contagious virus that can be easily spread from person to person by breathing contaminated air or touching infected surfaces.  It is reportedly so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person will become infected, if they are not immune.  Measles can cause a serious infection and symptoms usually begin one to three weeks after being exposed.  Symptoms include rash, fever, itchy or watery eyes and various respiratory issues. 

In addition to these common symptoms, more severe complications can occur, especially in children under the age of five and in adults over the age of twenty.  These complications can include ear infections, diarrhea and, in more extreme circumstances, pneumonia and encephalitis.

In 1963, John Enders and colleagues successfully created and licensed a vaccine in the United States.  Today, this vaccine is still in use and is usually combined with the vaccines for mumps and rubella (MMR) or with mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV).

While it has almost been eliminated the United States, international travelers and foreigners can unknowingly bring the disease to the states.  The measles can be prevented through regular hand washing and hygiene, as well as, by getting the vaccination.

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