State health officials: Second suspected measles case in York County

Staff report

A second suspected case of measles has been identified in York County, and the state Department of Health warned Saturday that people who visited several locations around the county, including two school open house events, might be at risk.

In a Saturday, Sept. 14, news release, Secretary of Health Rachel Levine stated people who visited the following locations during the times noted could have been exposed to the highly contagious disease:

  • Crunch Fitness, 905 Loucks Road, from 8:30 to 11:10 a.m. on Sept. 9.
  • Sheetz, 215 Arsenal Road, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 11.
  • Central York Middle School, 1950 North Hills Road, from 6:30 to 9:10 p.m. on Sept. 11.
  • Central York High School, 601 Mundis Mill Road, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 12.
  • WellSpan Stony Brook Health Center, 4222 E. Market St., during the following times: from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 9; from 7:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 10; from 7:15 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Sept. 11; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The Stony Brook Health Center houses WellSpan Family Medicine-Stony Brook, WellSpan OB/GYN-Stony Brook and WellSpan Lab Services-Stony Brook, according to the Health Department.

People who were potentially exposed to the measles were at open house events at Central York Middle School on Wednesday and Central York High School on Thursday, the district said on its website. 

Physician General Dr Rachel Levine fills a prescription for naloxone at Minnich's Pharmacy, 976 S George St., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. The life-saving drug is now available to all PA residents. John A. Pavoncello photo

More:WellSpan urges people possibly exposed to measles to call hotline

"We have a second individual with a suspected case of measles, which can be highly contagious," Levine stated in the release. "WellSpan Health is in the process of notifying patients, staff and visitors who were in WellSpan Stony Brook Health Center during the identified times; however, if you have been properly immunized against measles, your risk of getting the disease is minimal. If you believe you might have been exposed and experience symptoms, please contact your health-care provider or call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-PA-HEALTH."

So far this year 14 cases of measles have been confirmed in Pennsylvania, according to the health department. Nationwide, the 1,200 cases reported this year is the highest since 1992, the department’s release notes.

More:Measles at 25-year peak in the U.S.

First case: Saturday’s warning was the second for York County in just a few weeks.

An unidentified patient diagnosed with the measles virus received care at the WellSpan Stony Brook Health Center on Aug. 26 and 28-29 and at WellSpan York Hospital on Aug. 26 and 29.

In addition to the two WellSpan facilities, the infected person also was at Fuddruckers, 2300 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 22; and Hershey Theatre, 15 E. Caracas Ave. in Hershey, from 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 to 1 a.m. Aug. 24.

At the time, anyone who was at any of those locations around the listed times and was experiencing symptoms was told to contact the state Department of Health’s hotline.

Jennifer Russell, 52, of Carroll County, Maryland, had to postpone her chemotherapy treatment at York Hospital because of the measles case diagnosed there in late August 2019.

More:Maryland woman misses cancer treatment after York Hospital measles case

Quarantined: That scare interrupted a Maryland woman’s chemotherapy treatment at York Hospital.

Jennifer Russell, 51, of Carroll County, Maryland, was on her way to the hospital with her husband earlier this month when they were notified of the situation.

She said York Hospital told her to request a face mask right away when she arrived. Instead of beginning her four-day chemotherapy treatment for stage 4 uterine cancer, her doctors gave her antibodies and tested her blood to check her immunity levels.

Russell is now under quarantine at her home in Maryland for three weeks and can't resume her chemotherapy treatment until after the quarantine is lifted, she said. 

The state Department of Health notes 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.”

Those most at risk, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, are infants too young to have received the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, those who refused vaccinations and people from parts of the world with low vaccination coverage.

However, even people who have been vaccinated could be at risk. Those are people who were vaccinated between 1963 and 1967, when an inactivated vaccine was in used, who have not been revaccinated, and people who were born after 1957 and who have only received one dose of the MMR vaccine.

Vaccinations: Anti-vaccination proponents have come under fire in recent years because of the increased incidence of diseases such as measles and mumps.

But immunization rates among Pennsylvania schoolchildren, and York County students in particular, remain high, according to state health department records.

In the 2017-18 school year, with 110 schools reporting, 97.8% of York County schoolchildren in kindergarten and seventh grade received two or more doses of the MMR vaccine.

More:New Pa. school rules require vaccinations within 5 days

In 2016-17, with 108 schools reporting, the MMR immunization rate was 97.2%.

In 2015-16, with 116 schools reporting, the rate was 97.4%, and in 2014-15, with 125 schools reporting, the rate was 95.8%.

For the same years listed above, the overall statewide MMR immunization rates were 96.9%, 95.4%, 96.5% and 94.5%, respectively.

On its website, the state health department notes that none of the percentages in its data collection will add up to 100% because of incomplete enrollment information, approved exemptions and partial immunizations.

The health department will not release any information about the patient who was diagnosed, so details about the person's age, sex and immunization status were not available.

For more information on measles, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow the department on Facebook and Twitter.