Measles case identified in Flagstaff, Ariz.

A case of measles has been reported in a Flagstaff, Arizona, child who was most likely contagious between July 4 and July 12.

The child, who is recovering from the disease, spends little time outside the home, so public health officials have said the risk to others is minimal, the Arizona Daily Sun reports.

Measles is a respiratory virus that is highly contagious and can be spread by sneezes and coughs, lingering in the air for two hours even after an infected person has exited a room. The virus is caused by the rubeola virus. Symptoms include red eyes, runny nose, cough, fever and a rash. The rash usually begins on the face and moves downward and outward, reaching the extremities at the end. The contagious period typically starts four days before the rash and can start prior to symptoms manifesting.

Measles complications can include ear infections, encephalitis and death in rare cases. Pregnant women who develop measles are more likely to miscarry, have babies with very low birth weight or deliver prematurely.

In the state of Arizona, the measles vaccine is mandatory for children one year and older to attend daycare, preschool or school.

If a measles infection is suspected, patients should contact a healthcare facility prior to arrival.