PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Jefferson Health are notifying people who were in the building located at 33 South 9th Street (formerly known as 833 Chestnut Street) on Tuesday, December 19th between 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. of a possible exposure to the measles virus. Note that this location includes practices associated with Jefferson Health and other offices. People who were not in the building during those times are not in any danger of exposure at this time.
Measles is a virus that spreads very easily from person to person. Persons who have measles can spread the virus to others who are not protected against the virus through direct contact with respiratory droplets, or through droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. The early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, cough, and puffy eyes, followed by rash. In some people, it can be a very serious infection that leads to pneumonia, brain infection and death.
“We believe there is no threat to the general public associated with this case of measles.” said Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “We encourage people who were possibly exposed to take action if they are not protected against measles. The threat of measles exposure in the United States has been growing over the last decade. We strongly encourage parents to follow the CDC’s immunization schedule and get their children fully vaccinated as soon as they are able. A recent measles outbreak in Ohio sickened 85 children, almost all of whom were unvaccinated. Notably, 36 children were hospitalized due to measles in that outbreak. The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective and is the best way to avoid serious complications of a vaccine-preventable disease.”
The Health Department makes the following recommendations:
- Anyone in the Jefferson Health building located at 33 S 9th Street or 833 Chestnut Street on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 between 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. should follow the instructions below to determine if you are protected from measles, and symptoms to look out for if you are not protected. If you were not in the building during those times, you do not need to follow these instructions.
- Determine if you are protected against measles. Generally, you are considered protected (immune) if you were:
- Born before 1957, or
- Have already had measles, or
- Have received two doses of measles-containing vaccine (usually given as measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine).
- Look at your vaccination records or ask your healthcare provider to see if you have already had two doses of this vaccine.
- Measles vaccine is routinely recommended for patients 12–15 months with a second dose given at age 4–6 years. Infants under 12 months are not eligible for vaccine and are not protected.
If you are protected from measles, you do not have to do anything. Measles vaccine is extremely effective at preventing measles.
- If you are not protected from measles, you should receive a dose of MMR vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn how you can get this vaccine. The Health Department has additional resources on where to get vaccines on their website.
- Those who are under 12 months of age, pregnant and not immune, or are immunosuppressed (have a weakened immune system) should consult with their healthcare provider as soon as possible. Management of exposure to measles may be different with these conditions.
- Measles is contagious for 4 days before to 4 days after rash starts. If you are not immune and may have been exposed, you could give measles to someone at high risk before developing rash. To prevent that from happening, please wear a mask in indoor public spaces and around anyone who is unvaccinated until January 9th, 2024.
- If you are not immune and may have been exposed, and you develop any symptoms through Tuesday, January 9th, 2024 that appear like measles, contact your doctor immediately. The early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, cough, and puffy eyes, followed by rash. Tell your doctor that you may have been exposed to measles. You should also notify Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) at 215-685-6740 if you develop measles symptoms.
For more information about measles, visit the CDC’s webpage on measles.