Second case of measles, outbreak confirmed in Hawaii

Wahiawa General Hospital

State health officials confirmed Tuesday a second case of measles on Oahu. This comes nearly two weeks after an 11-month-old baby first contracted the disease during a recent trip to the Philippines. With two confirmed cases, health officials now have a measles outbreak on their hands.

This latest case involves a toddler who sat in the same doctor’s office as the baby who first contracted the disease. “They were in the same doctor’s office, so that’s the exposure,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

The state will not tell KHON2 which doctor’s office both children visited, but confirms that is how one infected the other. Both kids also went to Wahiawa General Hospital when they were contagious. In the most recent case, the toddler visited the emergency department twice this past weekend.

“The physician at the time was suspicious, so he had notified the health department on Sunday,” said Susan Ohlson, chief nursing officer at Wahiawa General Hospital. “So the health department is already on top of this and we were just poised, ready to find out the results.”

The results turned out to be positive. While the toddler is being treated at home, the hospital is trying to track down anyone else who this toddler was exposed to at the hospital. “We track all of our employees that have had contact with the infant, and that’s clinical and non-clinical because it’s an airborne virus,” Ohlson said.

Patients, visitors, delivery personnel, paramedics, basically anyone who was in the vicinity of the toddler at the hospital, is being alerted. They may have been exposed to the disease on February 22, from 4:50-9:25 p.m. and February 23, 11:58 a.m.-7:40 p.m.

The 11-month-old boy, who brought the disease here from the Philippines, went to Wahiawa General on February 5, from 1:15-5:15 p.m., February 6, 5:25-10:25 p.m., and February 7, 11:25 a.m.-2:40 p.m. The hospital says people who were there then were also exposed.

Signs have been posted all over the hospital. A new one, with the most recent exposure dates, will be posted.

If you were not vaccinated, or not immune, and you have symptoms including a fever, cough, or rash, call your doctor. Do not go into the doctor’s office or the emergency room.

The incubation period for measles is between seven and 21 days, which means symptoms would appear by mid-March.

“There is no anti-viral,” Dr. Park said. “It’s supportive therapy meaning hydration, nutrition as they can tolerate it and just rest.”

If not properly treated, the disease can lead to numerous complications. One in 10 children will develop an ear infection, one in 20, pneumonia, and some, could die.

Hospital officials say you cannot contract the measles if you go to Wahiawa General right now. You were only exposed if you were in the hospital during the above dates and times and are not immune or vaccinated.

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