Hawaii’s Department of Health today said it has confirmed three cases of measles in the state, one on Maui and two on Kauai.

“The cases on the two islands are not related to each other and have separate travel histories, but all cases are unvaccinated young adults with recent travel either to the Philippines or Indonesia and Malaysia,” according to a DOH media advisory.

“Measles is highly contagious, spreading through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing, and infecting 90 percent of the contacts who are not immune” said Dr. Sarah Y. Park, state epidemiologist. “Measles outbreaks continue to occur both internationally and on the mainland, especially in areas where vaccination is declining. As travel increases during the holiday season, so does our chance of seeing more cases.”

Since January, there have been 594 cases of measles reported in 22 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including two cases in Hawaii reported in February. Hawaii now has a total of five confirmed cases reported this year.

The DOH urges folks to check their immunization status and contact their healthcare provider if they need to be vaccinated. The symptoms of measles generally begin about 14 days (range 7 to 21 days) after a person is infected and may include:

  • Blotchy red rash
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Feeling run down, achy (malaise)
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots — not always present)

“People who suspect they have measles should call their doctor right away and isolate themselves from others to help contain the spread of illness,” the DOH advises.

For more information, click here. For a list of pharmacies vaccinating adults, click here.

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