Okmulgee County Health Department Providing Free Measles Vaccines After Confirmed Case

Thursday, May 16th 2019, 6:22 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

OKMULGEE COUNTY — The Okmulgee County Health Department is responding to a confirmed measles case by providing free vaccines to those in need. Right now there is one confirmed case in the state.

Health officials say anyone who was in the emergency room at St. Francis in Glenpool on May 11th from 8:00-11:15 a.m. should call their county health department.

The Okmulgee County Health Department is working with state health officials to investigate Oklahoma’s first measles case since last May. 

The person with the virus, who lives in Okmulgee County, traveled in the U. S. and around the world before he or she ended up in the emergency room at St. Francis Glenpool.

“There are parts of the world where these diseases still exist in larger numbers than we’re used to. And so international travel is a risk factor,” Health Educator Leslie Vick said.

The United States is seeing the highest number of measles cases since 1994.

“Approximately 90 percent of U.S. cases reported so far are in those people who are unvaccinated or are unsure of their vaccination status,” Vick said.

The Okmulgee Health Department says it isn’t sure how many people were potentially exposed to measles on May 11th. But Vick said the virus can stay in the air for up to two hours after a person with measles leaves the room.

“It just seems like a shock. Because it’s something — I’m in my 50s now — so it just, it’s something I haven’t heard of since I was a child,” Carl Smith said.

While Smith is shocked, it’s not stopping him from enjoying the first day of summer break with his 6-year-old daughter Helen, who he said is vaccinated.

“She’s caught up with all her shots and stuff,” Smith said.

The health department said children shouldn’t get the measles vaccine until their first birthday. Until then, officials said it’s important any adults in the baby’s life get the vaccine.

The state health department said the earliest someone would see measles symptoms is 7 days after exposure, but someone could see symptoms as late as 21 days after being exposed. If you think you have measles call your health care provider before showing up.