UNR Student with Measles was Vaccinated Against the Disease
Washoe County Health District officials say the UNR student who contracted the measles was vaccinated against the disease.
Washoe County Health District officials say the UNR student who contracted the measles was vaccinated against the disease. That only happens three percent of the time.
"The good news is when a vaccinated person does contract the disease, and it happens rarely but it does happen, they are somewhat less likely to transmit the disease to other people," said Randall Todd of the Washoe County Health District. "So that's a bit of good news."
This is the first case of measles in the county since 1999. It appears the student was exposed in another state and didn't know he was infected. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to develop.
"And those symptoms are not going to be your typical measles rash so it could be awhile before you figure it out," Todd said.
Another reason the disease can be tricky to diagnose - the symptoms are very similar to the flu.
"It starts with a fever, cough, runny nose and hives, and that's before you get any kind of a rash," Todd said.
A big concern is possible exposure over the past week. The student visited several buildings on campus, health clinics, Squaw Valley Ski Resort, and a Northwest Reno WalMart. It's very contagious.
"It spreads through the air so if you cough or sneeze, those are ways it is spread," Todd said. "To give you an example, nine out of ten people that come in contact with an infected person will become infected if they're not vaccinated."
That's why health officials are urging anyone who hasn't had the measles vaccine to get it.
"We're very pro-vaccine here at the Washoe County Health District," Todd said. "It's safe, we have very few problems with it and it works 97%t of the time."
The student has been placed in isolation and the University is working with the Health Department to mitigate any risk of infection on campus.
"Per University policy any student that is not vaccinated against the measles is not allowed to be on campus until they are vaccinated or until this occurrence has concluded and they've been allowed back by the health authority," said Dr. Cheryl Hug-English, the University's medical director.
The University is contacting all students that have not been vaccinated. That could be between two and three hundred students that will either need to get vaccinated or stay off campus.
Anyone that may have been exposed should call their doctor. Don't go into the office - make a phone call and see where things go from there. It's possible some people that have been exposed can still get the vaccine.
At this point, this is the only confirmed case, and the only suspected one.