TN health officials warn of measles exposure after patient went to Chattanooga gas station
The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) says people may have been exposed to the measles in Chattanooga after a patient visited a local gas station.
According to TDH officials, the East Tennessee resident visited the Mapco on 200 Browns Ferry Road.
Officials say people who were at the location on April 11, 2019 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease.
TDH says people need to check their vaccination status to see if they are up to date.
TDH officials say the patient also visited the Speedway at 2148 North Charles G. Seivers Boulevard in Clinton, TN. Anyone who was there on April 12, 2019 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. should check their vaccination status.
TDH officials say they have confirmed one case of measles in Tennessee this year - but that person also made stops in Alabama during the infectious period.
According to the health department, the infected person stopped at D&J Travel Plaza at 651 Hwy 28 W, Livingston at 2:20 P.M. and the Chick-fil-A at 1824 Glenn Blvd SW, Fort Payne at 5:54 P.M. on April 11, 2019.
Health officials say they are working to contact hundreds who may have been exposed to the infected person so far.
State health department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hart told the Knoxville News Sentinel Monday that more than 600 people may have been exposed. That number includes both in- and out-of-state residents who may have come into contact with the infected person.
Health officials announced last week that one person in East Tennessee tested positive for the measles. Officials said only 15 other cases have been diagnosed in the state in the last decade. The largest and most recent outbreak consisted of seven cases in Shelby County in 2016.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine, which is 97% effective.
“Most people in Tennessee are vaccinated against measles and are protected against this illness,” said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “This appearance of measles is a reminder about the importance of vaccines in protecting our population, and we urge everyone who has not been vaccinated to do so now to protect themselves, their families, their coworkers and their communities.”
WHAT TO DO:
If you visited any of these locations, TDH says to do the following:
Check your vaccination status. Locate your immunization records. People who have had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella or MMR vaccine are protected against measles and need to take no further action in regard to an exposure to measles. Contact your health care provider if you cannot locate your immunization records and/or are not certain if you are immune to measles.
If you are not immune to measles, watch for symptoms of the illness. Measles symptoms may include fever, runny nose, body aches, watery eyes and white spots in the mouth. Several days after these symptoms start, a red, spotty rash typically begins on the face and spreads over the body. Symptoms may develop any time in the 21 days following exposure to the illness. Nearly one in three measles patients will develop ear infections, diarrhea or pneumonia.
If you develop measles symptoms, stay home and contact your health care provider. Those with symptoms of measles should first call a health care provider to make arrangements to visit a health care facility before going to a health care center in order to prevent further exposure of others to the illness.
People with questions about what to do to protect themselves against measles should call a health care provider, the local health department or a hotline established to provide answers to questions from the public about measles. The hotline number is 865-549-5343; calls to the hotline will be answered from 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Central time/8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern time daily until further notice.
For more information about measles, visit the TDH website here.