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Pacific Northwest, Three New States Affected by Measles Outbreak

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Beneficiaries residing in Washington state should be aware that a public health emergency has been declared by the state’s governor due to an ongoing outbreak of measles. Additionally, health officials in Georgia, Hawaii and Oregon have now reported multiple confirmed cases of the highly contagious virus in their states as well. To date:

  • 38 cases of measles have been identified in Washington’s Clark County, which borders Portland, Oregon, since Jan. 18. 
  • One adult case has been identified in nearby King County, whose largest city is Seattle. 
  • In Oregon, exposure sites have been reported in Deschutes and Multnomah counties, possibly due to their proximity to Clark County.
  • In Hawaii, public health officials reported two confirmed cases of measles of unvaccinated visitors connected to the outbreak in Clark County. 
  • Three people have been diagnosed with the virus in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Most of the reported cases have involved non-vaccinated children between the ages of one and 10.

Washington state beneficiaries are encouraged to visit the Washington State Health Department website for daily updates and information regarding local counties affected by the outbreak.

Beneficiaries in other states affected by the outbreak should contact their state’s health department for additional information.

Who’s at risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, those at particularly high risk for severe illness and complications are:

  • Children ages five years and under.
  • Adults over 20. 
  • Pregnant women. 
  • Patients with compromised immune systems. 

Know the symptoms

The symptoms of measles generally appear seven to 14 days after a person is infected and typically begin with:

  • high fever; 
  • cough; 
  • runny nose; and 
  • wet, watery eyes. 

Three to five days after showing symptoms, a rash appears, usually as flat red spots on the face that can spread down the body with small, raised bumps. 

What to do if you have been exposed

Beneficiaries who feel they may have been exposed to the virus should make an appointment with their primary care manager (PCM) and ensure that all family members who have not been vaccinated – including adults – receive a vaccination. Alert your PCM before you arrive to avoid waiting room delays that could infect patients and staff. 

Vaccines administered at a participating retail network pharmacy are covered by TRICARE when available. Visit www.tricare.mil/vaccine to learn more.

TRICARE beneficiaries with life-threatening symptoms should go to the nearest emergency room, calling ahead if possible.

After hours, beneficiaries with questions or concerns can call the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line, available 24/7 at 1-800-TRICARE (1-800-874-2273), option 1.