WellSpan urges people possibly exposed to measles to call hotline

Dispatch Staff

Patients and visitors to York Hospital are no longer in danger of contracting measles from a patient who was diagnosed with the virus last week, Dr. Mark Goedecker, regional medical director for WellSpan Medical Group, said Monday.

But those who may have been exposed when the patient was contagious should be on the lookout for symptoms and should contact the medical group's measles exposure hotline at 717-812-5330 to find out if they are at risk, based on the timeline of when they were at the hospital and another WellSpan facility, he said on Monday, Sept.2.

"Measles is very contagious," Goedecker said. "It's considered one of the most contagious viruses that are around, so we are concerned."

The infected individual received care at WellSpan Stony Brook Health Center, 4222 E. Market St., on Aug. 26 and 28-29 and at WellSpan York Hospital on Aug. 26 and 29.

Goedecker declined to confirm whether the infected patient was still being treated at York Hospital.

He said this is the first measles diagnosis he's seen at York Hospital in the 16 years he's worked there.

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Anyone who was at either of those facilities this past week and is experiencing symptoms is urged to contact the state Department of Health hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

There's little risk for those vaccinated against measles.

This is the 14th confirmed case of measles in Pennsylvania this year, according to a WellSpan Health news release. More than 1,200 Americans have been diagnosed so far this year.

File photo of WellSpan York Hospital, Tuesday, December 31, 2018.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Measles is a highly contagious but vaccine-preventable disease that spreads through coughing, sneezing or other contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person. Symptoms typically appear one to three weeks after exposure and include rash, high fever, cough and red, watery eyes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those most at risk are:

  • Infants less than one year of age who are too young to have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine;
  • Individuals who refused vaccination; and
  • Individuals from parts of the world where there is low vaccination coverage or circulating measles.

Additionally, even if you were vaccinated, you may still be at risk if you were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine, which was used from 1963 through 1967, and have not been revaccinated; or if you were born after 1957 and have only received one dose of MMR vaccine.