New measles exposures in Pierce and King Counties

UPDATE (5/17/19): New exposure locations have been identified since this blog was posted on May 12. All exposure locations in King County, including those from previous cases, are updated at

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and Public Health – Seattle & King County are investigating a measles case with possible exposures in both counties.

The Pierce County resident, a man in his 40s, spent time at sites in Pierce and King counties while contagious. The man was not hospitalized and is recovering at home.

He was not exposed to the most recent case in King County while that person was contagious; the source of infection for the Pierce County resident is unknown.

“Measles is a cause for serious concern for anyone who does not have immunity,” said Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, Director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “We urge those people to determine if they were at any of the locations where they may have been exposed to measles. Children and adults who are up-to-date with their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations are very well protected and not considered at risk, even at places of possible exposure to measles,” Chen said.

What to do if you were in a location of potential measles exposure 

Most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low. However, anyone who was in the locations of potential exposure to measles around the times listed below should: 

  • Find out if they have been vaccinated for measles or have had measles previously. 
  • Call a healthcare provider promptly if you develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash between May 13 and June 1. To avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles. 

Locations of potential exposure to measles in Pierce and King County 

Transmission of measles can occur before people know they have the disease, before any rash appears. Before the measles diagnosis was made, the infected individual was in the following public locations.

These times include the period when the person was at the location and two hours after. Measles virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after someone infectious with measles leaves the area. Anyone who was at the following locations during the times listed could have been exposed to measles: 

Date Time Location

May 6 – 10,
5:30 – 8 a.m. Sea-Tac International Airport
Main parking garage 8th floor
Far southern garage elevator
4th level breezeway to escalator
Terminal to baggage claim area
May 6 – 10, 2019 2 – 5 p.m. Sea-Tac International Airport
Baggage claim area to escalator
4th level breezeway
Far southern garage elevator
8th floor parking garage
May 6, 2019 5 – 7:15 p.m. Orting Transmission
130 Corrin Ct. NW., Orting
May 6, 2019 6 – 10 p.m.  Orting High School, Orting City Planning Meeting
320 Washington Ave. N., Orting.
May 7, 2019 10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Sea-Tac International Airport
General area around gate A10 of Sea-Tac Airport 
May 7, 2019 5 – 8 p.m. Orting Transmission 130 Corrin Ct. NW., Orting
May 7, 2019 7:30 – 10 p.m. Orting High School
Orting Junior Dance Team Banquet
320 Washington Ave. N. Orting
May 9, 2019 10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Sea-Tac International Airport
General area around gate A10 of Sea-Tac Airport 
May 9, 2019 4 – 7:30 p.m. Discount Tire
19815 S. Prairie Rd. E., Bonney Lake.
May 9, 2019 6 – 9:30 p.m. Skookum Archery
11209 Shaw Rd. E., Puyallup.
May 10,
6:30 – 8:40 a.m. 76 Gas Station Market
2841 S 188th St, SeaTac
May 10,
3:15 – 5:45 pm& 6:30 – 9 p.m. Orting Transmission
130 Corrin Ct. NW., Orting
May 11,
8 – 10:30 a.m. Sound Family Medicine Bonney Lake Walk-in Clinic
10004 204 Ave., Bonney Lake.

If you were at the locations at the times listed above and are not immune to measles, the most likely time you would become sick is between May 13-31.

About measles

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. It mainly spreads through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes.

Measles symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure. Measles is contagious from approximately four days before the rash appears through four days after the rash appears. People can spread measles before they have the characteristic measles rash.

Measles complications can include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and rarely, encephalitis (brain inflammation). Complications from measles can happen even in healthy people but those at highest risk include: infants and children under 5 years, adults over 20 years, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems from drugs or underlying disease.

Measles is preventable with the safe and highly effective measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two doses of the MMR vaccine are more than 95 percent effective in preventing measles and that protection is long lasting.

What public health officials are doing

Investigation of infectious diseases is one of the essential services local health departments provide. For this case, Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health Department is leading the investigation. Public Health – Seattle & King County will work in close coordination with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, with each jurisdiction following up with any of their affected residents.

Because of increased measles activity nationally, health departments throughout Washington state are also alerting healthcare providers and working with schools and communities to provide education about preventing measles.

“Public health works across county lines to protect our communities from the spread of dangerous diseases,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “This measles case serves as a reminder that our region’s health and safety depend on a coordinated public health system,” said Duchin.

For more information about measles and measles vaccination: and  

Originally posted on May 12, 2019.

One thought on “New measles exposures in Pierce and King Counties

  1. The new measles exposures in Pierce and King County is alarming, especially in an age where safe vaccines are available that are 95% effective against it. This article is useful for providing statistics on measles incidence, methods to prevent the spread of measles, and possible reasons why measles incidence is increasing. However, with the effective vaccines that are available for measles, I believe more attention should be placed on barriers for getting the vaccination. If enough people are vaccinated against the disease, herd immunity has been shown to protect the entire population and prevent spread of disease. With measles incidence on the rise, this shows that not enough people are getting the vaccination for herd immunity to be effective. So what are these barriers preventing people from getting the vaccination? Some popular barriers are the growing popularity of alternative natural medicines and misconceptions that diseases such as measles are near eradicated when they are not. Beginning with alternative natural medicines, increasing numbers of people are turning towards herbal remedies in place of traditional medical care and vaccinations. Herbal remedies are not alternatives to vaccines and leave these populations vulnerable to preventable diseases. Then there’s the ideological barrier of people believing if they don’t know anyone personally that has a disease then they don’t need to be vaccinated against it. This is blatantly untrue and the fact that so many people believe this means there needs to be increased education about preventable diseases. Articles regarding public health that talk about preventable diseases (such as measles) should focus more on the problem which is people who aren’t getting vaccinated. The barriers to vaccination should be what’s forefront in the article as we work to overcome these barriers to increase vaccination rates.

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