Measles outbreak spreads to Kitsap County, passengers on ferry Tacoma to Bainbridge may have been exposed to virus

State health officials said the measles outbreak in Washington has continued to spread, and passengers aboard the ferry M/V Tacoma during morning sailings on Friday, April 4, from Bainbridge Island may have been exposed to the measles virus.

Authorities said a Kitsap County resident, described as a man in his 40s, visited several places in Friday Harbor, including a restaurant where a contagious San Juan County man was at the same time.

San Juan County now has five cases of measles, and Kitsap County has one. In Whatcom County, the case count remains at six.

According to state health officials, the Kitsap County man may have been exposed to measles March 21 at Cask and Schooner Public House and Restaurant, where San Juan County’s first case was also present while contagious.

The Kitsap resident also traveled around Puget Sound while contagious, going to Seattle from Bainbridge Island on the ferry, then flying to Friday Harbor.

A list of the places visited by both cases while they were contagious is available online. Anyone who was in those places at the listed times should find out if they’ve been vaccinated for measles or have had measles before.

Times and locations of possible public measles exposures on Bainbridge Island, which include the two hours of potential exposure after the person with measles left each location, is:

April 4

6 a.m.-8:20 a.m. Washington State Ferry passenger walk-on terminal, Bainbridge Island;

6:20 a.m. sailing Washington State Ferry “Tacoma,” Bainbridge Island to Seattle – passenger area;

6:45 a.m.-9:15 a.m. Washington State Ferry passenger terminal, Seattle;

7:05 a.m. sailing Washington State Ferry “Tacoma,” Seattle to Bainbridge Island—passenger area;

7:55 a.m. sailing Washington State Ferry “Tacoma,” Bainbridge Island to Seattle - passenger area;

8:45 a.m. sailing Washington State Ferry “Tacoma,” Seattle to Bainbridge Island - passenger area;

April 9

10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Virginia Mason Bainbridge Island Medical Center (380 Winslow Way E).

People who are unvaccinated, or aren’t sure if they’re immune, and develop an illness with fever and unexplained rash should consult a health care professional immediately. Call ahead to their clinic, doctor’s office, or emergency room before arriving so people in waiting rooms aren’t exposed.

Officials noted that measles is highly contagious even before the rash starts, and is easily spread when an infected person breathes, cough or sneezes. People can can get the measles just by walking into a room where someone with the disease has been in the past couple of hours.

Washington typically has five or fewer measles cases per year. So far in 2014, there have been 12.

Symptoms begin seven to 21 days after exposure and is contagious for about four days before rash appears until four days afterward.

People at highest risk from exposure to measles include those who are unvaccinated, pregnant women, infants under six months of age, and those with weakened immune systems.

Children should be vaccinated with two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, with the first dose between 12 and 15 months and the second at four-to-six years. Adults should have at least one measles vaccination, with some people needing two.

The state Department of Health immunization program has more information about measles and measles vaccine.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.