The Missoula City-County Health Department is urging folks to check their measles immunization status. Currently there are no cases of measles in the state, but Health Promotion Director Cindy Farr says there is a possibility measles could reach Montana.

“There were 65 cases in Clark County, Washington and then there are four cases in Oregon that are related to that Washington outbreak,” Farr said. “They have been getting about one to two new cases a day over the last couple of weeks. That is why we are a little concerned that we might see it here.”

According to Farr, the MMR vaccine is used to protect against measles and it is really easy to check to see if you have received the vaccine.

“MMR vaccine is required for school attendance, unless someone has an exemption,” Farr said. “If parents are wondering if their child has had two MMR vaccines, if they are in public schools and you haven’t asked for an exemption, then they have probably had the two MMR vaccines. If people want to look up their immunization history, they can certainly call our information line at 258-info.”

Farr explains the symptoms associated with measles.

“Measles starts with a fever, followed by a cough, runny nose and red eyes.  Then about three or four days later is when the rash starts showing up and the rash can last for about a week. The coughing can last for about 10 days.”

Measles is highly contagious. It spreads through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. Farr says anyone who thinks they may have measles should call their health care provider before showing up in person. The heath care agency will need to put precautions in place before arrival so others are not exposed.

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