1. What is measles?Measles is a highly contagious disease that is caused by a virus that lives in the nose and throat. The symptoms of measles include:
- Fever (101°F or higher)
- Rash of red spots. Some are slightly raised. Typically starts on the face or hairline and spreads to the rest of the body.
Measles can lead to serious illnesses, hospitalization, and even death. Serious illnesses include:
Pregnant women, infants, young children, and persons with a weakened immune system are at the most risk for serious illnesses. There is no treatment for measles.
2. How is measles spread?Measles spreads easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. About 9 out of 10 people who have not had the measles vaccine will get measles if they are exposed to the virus. You can get measles if you share the same air with a person with measles, even up to two hours after the person has left the area. Measles can also spread before the infected person has symptoms.
3. Who is the Health Officer?The Health Officer is a physician appointed by the County Board of Supervisors who enforces laws and takes action to protect the community and prevent disease or injury. Law enforcement may work with the Health Officer, if needed, to enforce Orders that have been issued.
4. Why am I receiving a Health Officer Order?You’re receiving a Health Officer Order because you’ve been in contact with or exposed to a person diagnosed with the measles and haven’t provided required evidence of immunity to measles (i.e., documentation that you received required measles vaccine doses or a blood test result showing that you are immune) to the Department of Public Health.
Thus, you are at risk for contracting measles and spreading it to others. The requirements and restrictions that are described in the Health Officer Order are put in place to prevent the spread of measles to others.
5. What does the Health Officer Order require me to do?The Health Officer Order is a legal order, which requires that you strictly follow a set of precautions to protect yourself and reduce the chance that you will spread measles to others. The order includes the phone number of the Public Health Nurse for you to call with any questions related to this order. Until you have been released from the Order:
school or work outside of your home/residence. Avoid any public places where you may come into contact with many people, including classrooms, study halls, libraries, places of worship, movie theaters, grocery stores, shopping centers, gyms, outdoor events, and sporting events.