Measles outbreak prompts health officials to warn public to get vaccinated

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Health officials are on high alert and urging people to get vaccinated as a measles outbreak leaves a 12-month-old who recently traveled to Asia in the hospital.

Health officials say this is a good time to make sure your vaccination records are up-to-date because the measles is not only contagious but extremely dangerous.

"The only treatment we have is preventing it through a vaccine," said Dr. Cara Christ with the Arizona Department of Health Services. "The most susceptible are those who aren't immunized."

The measles is extremely contagious. You just have to be in the same room as someone infected - even if that person were to leave, the virus lingers for up to two hours.

"Really, [it's] the airborne exposure that we're concerned with because all you have to do is be in the same room and breathe it in and you can become infected with measles," Dr. Christ said.

The symptoms for measles beings with flu-like symptoms: Cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis. After a couple of days, things can get progressively worse.

"Three to four days [later], [you can] develop a rash [that] starts at the hairline and moves down the body," Dr. Christ said.

Because this virus is so contagious, if you believe you may have symptoms, officials are asking you to call your physician before going to the hospital.

The hospital health officials say they are on high alert for 21 days. They're also speaking with the family to see where they have been in the time since the baby has been infected.