Measles cases linked to south metro

Second individual visited several locations during infectious phase

Posted

Two rare cases of measles have been diagnosed in south suburban Denver, and the second infected individual may have exposed other people after visiting several public places in Lone Tree, Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Highlands Ranch and Littleton.

A Sky Ridge Medical Center doctor diagnosed the first case of measles in a patient there in late May. The second individual, who was exposed to the first man June 4, reportedly began experiencing symptoms June 6.

During the infectious phase, the second person visited the following places, potentially exposing unvaccinated individuals:

• Lone Tree Medical Plaza, 9695 S. Yosemite St., Lone Tree, between June 3 and 6

• Kent Denver School’s middle school graduation at the Anschutz Theatre, 4000 E. Quincy Ave., Cherry Hills Village, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3

• Hodsons Bar & Grill, 6851 S. Gaylord St., Centennial, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 3

• Christ Lutheran Church, 8997 S. Broadway, Highlands Ranch, from 6 to 9 p.m. June 3

• Highlands Ranch Orthodontics, 1420 W. Canal Court, Littleton, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. June 5

Ninety percent of U.S. citizens are vaccinated against measles, and Sky Ridge chief medical officer Dr. David Markenson said “there isn’t really a risk” for that vast majority of the population.

“Unfortunately, vaccination coverage levels in Colorado are not as high as we would like them to be,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Lisa Miller. “With a second case of measles and fairly wide exposure, we could be seeing additional cases of measles in our community. Now is the time to check your immunizations and make sure you and your family are protected.”

The first case was diagnosed in a man who traveled to Denver from India, seeking treatment at Sky Ridge.

The man was admitted for several days, and Markenson said Sky Ridge took “symptom-based precautions” during his stay.

Sky Ridge informed not only the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, but staff and many patients at the hospital between May 25 and 27, he said. Visitors to the hospital during those dates may also have been exposed.

Those who suspect they may have measles are urged to call a health-care provider before going to a medical office or emergency room. Special arrangements may need to be made before an examination to protect other patients and medical staff from possible infection.

Measles is an airborne contagion, spread through the spray droplets in sneezes or coughs or on surfaces. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and a rash that usually begins on the face and spreads to hands and feet.

Although it was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, 66 cases of measles were reported in 2005, more than half linked to a single unvaccinated individual infected during a visit to Romania.