NORMAN, Okla. - The Oklahoma State Department of Health is alerting people in Cleveland County after they confirmed a case of the measles.
They said a Cleveland County resident under the age of 18 who recently traveled overseas was diagnosed with the illness.
“We saw the child actually in the first visit, didn’t have any rash characteristic of measles at all. So, with everybody with 104 fevers that we’re seeing here and runny noses and red eyes, we thought that was a virus,” said Dr. Thomas Kuhls at Norman Pediatrics.
Kuhls said, several days later though, that rash characteristic of measles showed up.
“One of my partners diagnosed this illness. It was a great diagnoses because you don’t see measles very much. And, so, we hope we’ve done a good job and diagnosed it early and got everybody alerted,” Kuhls said.
The last case of measles in Oklahoma was in 2015 and, before that, it was 1997.
“We don’t see it very often because of our high immunization rates. The measles, mumps, rubella vaccination is very effective against measles,” said Keith Reed with the Cleveland County Health Department.
The Cleveland County Health Department had extra nurses answering phones on Tuesday, trying to identify any other potential case.
They’re alerting people who were at Norman Pediatrics (808 Wall St.) on February 2 from 9:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and again on February 6 from 11:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and Chuck E. Cheese (2201 Interstate Drive) on February 3 from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m. and Norman Regional Healthplex (3300 Healthplex Parkway) on February 6 from 12:25 to 3:30 p.m., specifically the outpatient registration area, emergency room waiting area and laboratory collection services.
Anyone who visited those locations during those times and is concerned about potential exposure can contact the Cleveland County Health Department at 321-4048, Ext. 260.
“We are looking for the next potential case. That’s where we want to identify it early and stop any additional exposures to make sure that this doesn’t spread,” Reed said.
Health officials said, if you’ve received the vaccination, you should be protected.
Kids typically are vaccinated between 12 and 15 months and then receive a booster anywhere from age 4-6.
Right now, they don’t believe any other shots are needed to protect your entire life.
But, officials are not taking any chances.
“It’s highly contagious, so that child’s going to do fine. But, it’s just to make that it doesn’t become an outbreak and multiple, multiple people get it,” Kuhls said.
Kuhls said their patient who contracted measles was not vaccinated.
“Overseas, there’s not mass vaccinations. There’s higher rates of measles. This child was not vaccinated because the child couldn’t be vaccinated yet,” Kuhls said.
Officials said the virus can be spread through the air when someone infected with it coughs or sneezes and it can remain in the air for up to two hours after the infected person has left.