Potential measles outbreak at Walmart shareholders meeting

Approximately 142 Walmart shareholders in Fayettville, Arkansas, were given measles vaccines as a precautionary measure after an attendee took ill with measles-like symptoms, according to officials with the Arkansas Department of Health.

Arkansas Health Department spokesman Ed Barham told ArkTimes.com that the vaccines were precautionary.

“Somebody that came in from another country to the shareholders meeting became ill and the symptoms were not completely consistent with measles, although a couple were,” Barham said, ArkTimes.com reports. “He was tested for a number of things and out of an abundance of caution, a bunch of people were vaccinated for measles who had not had their measles, mumps and rubella shots.”

Citing the health privacy law, Branham said he could not comment on any specifics about the attendee who became ill. Barham did say, however, that all but eight of the shareholders vaccinated were visiting from other countries. Barham said that so far medical tests have not confirmed the presence of measles.

Lorenzo Lopez, a spokesperson for Walmart, said the associate was quarantined and that other pracautionary measures were taken.

“At this point the associate is feeling better and has been released from the hospital,” Lopez told ArkTimes.com. “All others who received vaccinations have returned home and are feeling fine. The meetings went on without disruption.”

The vaccinations were paid for by a special federal grant, officials said.

“People come into conventions and conferences like that and become ill and often the health department will become involved in an infectious disease investigation and it will wind up being no big deal, or they’re sick with something else, or it goes away,” Barham told ArkTimes.com. “We’re in the business of imagining all kinds of things and getting ready for whatever it might be. In this case there was something we could do, so we made sure everyone had their shots up to date.”