More measles exposures occurred this week at emergency departments for Tacoma hospitals

Staff writerJune 27, 2014 

Additional exposures to measles took place this week at the emergency departments of Tacoma hospitals, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said Friday.

The exposures happened when the family of a 13-month-old infant who contracted measles at the emergency department of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Center sought care, the health department said.

Investigators believe the child was exposed when members of an infected family from South King County went to the Mary Bridge emergency department for treatment June 10.

The infant was there from 5 p.m. June 10 to 2:30 a.m. June 11, said Jean Jackman, spokeswoman for MultiCare Health Systems.

The infant’s family, not knowing the child had measles, then went for care at the emergency departments for Mary Bridge and Tacoma General Hospital and at the emergency department for St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma at the following dates and times:

•  Sunday, 4:30 to 10:30 a.m., emergency departments for Mary Bridge and Tacoma General hospitals.

•  Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., emergency departments for Mary Bridge and Tacoma General, including Tacoma General Imaging. The hospitals’ emergency departments share the same entrance and central desk.

•  Tuesday through Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., emergency department at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.

Unless they know they are immune from contracting measles, people who visited these locations during these times should tell their their regular health care providers they were exposed to measles, said Edie Jeffers, spokeswoman for the health department.

The department is working with health care providers to ensure that those who might have been exposed are contacted. The medical facilities are contacting those who were present — clients, visitors and staff members — during the times of potential exposure.

The infant is the first confirmed case of measles in Pierce County in at least six years, the health department said.

The case is connected to eight confirmed cases of measles being investigated in South King County, all among members of the same extended family, officials said.

The infant is not part of that family, Jeffers said.

Jeffers said Thursday she could release no information about the infant’s condition or gender.

MultiCare Health Systems said that five of the eight people originally infected in the King County outbreak went to their facilities for treatment and might have exposed others at the Mary Bridge emergency department June 10.

They also might have infected people at:

•  MultiCare Covington Emergency Department and Imaging on June 13, 21 and 22.

•  MultiCare Mary Bridge Pediatrics Clinic, Maple Valley, on June. 19.

•  MultiCare Covington Pediatrics on June 13, 14

•  MultiCare Kent Urgent Care Clinic on June 10.

•  MultiCare Tacoma General Imaging on June 10.

A list of all times for these exposure dates is available at multicare.org/measles.

Before this outbreak, 15 cases of the disease had been confirmed in Washington state as of May 30.

Nationally, more than 514 cases had been reported this year as of June 20, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention —the worst year-to-date county since 1994.

The health department stressed Friday that Pierce County residents should make sure they are up to date on the measles vaccination and other important vaccinations.

Babies generally get their first measles vaccine when they are between 12 and 15 months old, and those in contact with infants need to be vaccinated to protect them, Jeffers said.

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647 steve.maynard@thenewstribune.com @TNTstevemaynard

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