Utah seeks self-quarantine for potential measles patients

Utah health officials have asked approximately 40 people who might have been exposed to the measles virus when they attended one of two recent community events in Salt Lake City to quarantine themselves.

The department reported that on April 21, a person infected with measles attended both events, potentially exposing many others who were present, CIDRAP News reports. The agency hoped to talk to those who attended to determine if they were properly vaccinated against measles and to ask those who weren’t to quarantine themselves.

There were an estimated 1,000 people who attended the two events. Approximately 120 people had called as of Monday to report that they were present.

"We have advised 40 individuals who attended one of the community events to quarantine themselves as a result of being unvaccinated, under-vaccinated, or not knowing their vaccination status," Tom Hudachko, a health department spokesman, said, according to CIDRAP News. “We have not been keeping tabs on whether individuals agree to quarantine, but anecdotally I can tell you most of those we speak with are understanding and cooperative.”

Nine measles cases have been confirmed in the Utah outbreak, which is the state’s first since 2005 and the state’s largest since 1996, where there were 119 cases.

The measles virus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by respiratory droplets from sneezing or coughing. According to a UDH statement, 90 percent of people in close contact with an infectious person will get the disease if they aren’t immunized.