Sara Swanson

County Public Health warns of possible exposure to measles in two Ann Arbor Restaurants

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed a second case of measles in a Michigan adult. Washtenaw County Public Health issued a warning on Friday because of potential exposure to measles at two area restaurants on Thursday and Friday of the previous week.

Measles is a highly-contagious, airborne disease caused by the measles virus. Measles can cause complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Measles can also cause miscarriages or premature delivery in pregnant women.

Anyone at either of the following locations during the dates and times provided should monitor themselves for rash with fever or other symptoms consistent with measles for 21 days. If you suspect measles, seek medical treatment as soon as possible:

  • Mark’s Midtown Coney Island at 3586 Plymouth Rd in Ann Arbor from noon – 3pm on Thursday, April 6
  • Benny’s Family Dining at 1952 S. Industrial in Ann Arbor from noon – 3pm on Friday, April 7

This is not a matter of food safety or restaurant sanitation; the individual with measles was a customer at these restaurants while contagious. Both restaurants are working with Washtenaw County Public Health to help notify employees and members of the public about the potential exposure to measles.

“This is the second case of measles in Michigan this year,” says Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, MD, MPH, medical director for Washtenaw County Public Health. “This underscores the need for all eligible individuals to vaccinate against measles. The measles vaccine is effective and safe.”

Having two doses of MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart is fully protective. Having only one dose of MMR vaccine is approximately 93 percent protective. The first dose is routinely given to children after their first birthday. Vaccination is not necessary if an individual has a prior history of measles illness. Individuals born before 1957 are assumed to have natural immunity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The State Department of Health and Human Services recommends that unvaccinated adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of the vaccine. The MMR vaccine is available through primary health care providers and at some local pharmacies. Individuals should contact their health care provider for advice.

Measles starts with a runny nose, red eyes, cough, fever and sore throat. Tiny white spots may appear in the mouth. A raised, red rash appears on the 3rd to 5th day of illness. The rash typically starts on the face and spreads down the body and out to the arms and legs. The rash usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Symptoms start 7 to 14 days after being exposed to measles, and last 1 to 2 weeks.

The disease is spread via droplets from the nose or mouth, through sneezing, coughing or speaking, spread measles. A person with measles is contagious for four days before and four days after the rash appears.

This second case is an adult and the direct result of an exposure to the state’s first case of the year in late March. The two individuals, who are not members of the same family or otherwise related, were both passengers on the same flight when the first individual was contagious.

Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Africa and can be brought to the United States by travelers. It can then spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated. From 2001 – 2012, the average number of measles cases in the Unites States per year was about 60. But there have been more cases in recent years, which is of great concern to public health authorities. In 2014, there were 667 cases in the U.S., including five cases in Michigan. The majority of people who contracted measles were unvaccinated.

In the United Stated the death rate from measles is 3 in 1,000 but in other parts of the world it can be as high as 1 in 4.

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