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Health officials warn of measles exposure in St. Louis County

Locations where exposures may have occurred on March 13 are The Magic House in Kirkwood, Racanelli's New York Pizzeria in Kirkwood, and Homewood Suites in Chesterfield. The only known location where exposure may have occurred on March 14 is Homewood Suites in Chesterfield.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is working with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health to notify people who may have been exposed to measles on March 13 or March 14.

Locations where exposures may have occurred on March 13 are The Magic House in Kirkwood, Racanelli’s New York Pizzeria in Kirkwood, and Homewood Suites in Chesterfield. The only known location where exposure may have occurred on March 14 is Homewood Suites in Chesterfield.

Health officials continue to investigate and information is subject to change.

Health care providers should isolate suspected measles case-patients and immediately report suspected cases to the local public health agency or to DHSS at 573-751-6113 or 800-392-0272 outside normal business hours.

“I think that if everyone keeps up to date on their vaccinations, that can help keep those outbreaks in check,” said one parent, Elizabeth Fergus. "I've heard about it as a recurring disease, but its preventable, and it shouldn’t be a problem if people are taking proper precautions."

“Recently public health officials have noticed that some people are opting not to get vaccinations and this is causing some resurgence in diseases that were previously controlled by vaccinations, so we really strongly recommend that people follow that schedule, said Melissa Swank, the community health director at The Magic House.

About measles

Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that is transmitted by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Patients are considered to be contagious from four days before until four days after the rash appears. The measles virus can remain infectious in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area such as a waiting room. Measles is vaccine-preventable disease. You can check with your health care provider to make sure you and your family are up-to-date on vaccines.

The symptoms of measles generally include a rash that appears 7-21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with:

    • A high fever
    • Cough
    • Runny nose
    • Red, watery eyes

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash starts to appear. The rash usually looks like flat red spots that break out first on the face and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

People who may have been exposed to measles should contact their health care provider if they develop cold-like symptoms with a fever and/or rash as described above. If you may have been exposed to measles and you have symptoms, you should not go to any health care facility without calling first. This will help the health care facility prepare for your arrival and allow the facility to provide instructions to you to reduce possible exposures to others at the facility. If you are diagnosed with measles, it’s important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community