Shoppers in a Collin County grocery store may have been exposed to the measles virus when a contagious patient shopped there last Friday.
Collin County Health Care Services said the patient spent a "limited amount of time" in public, while contagious, at the Kroger Marketplace store on North Preston Road in Prosper between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m Friday.
Measles is highly contagious and can be spread through the air.
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Officials say the infectious droplets can remain in the air up to two hours after an infected person has left the area -- which is why they're asking anyone who went to that particular store between 9 a.m. and Noon that day to watch for symptoms over the next three weeks.
"Really, you want to be vigilant for any kind of signs and symptoms of measles," said Medical City Plano Chief Medical Officer Dr. Parikshet Babber.
Measles symptoms include cough, runny nose, red eyes, diarrhea, ear infection and a rash of tiny, red spots that start at the head and spread to the rest of the body. If left untreated, in children measles can lead to pneumonia, lifelong brain damage, deafness and death.
Dr. Babber points out most people who have received both doses of the MMR vaccine as children aren't at a high risk for contracting measles now.
"If the average person has received their immunization, the vaccine, according to CDC, is 97 percent effective. The chance of them getting measles after being vaccinated is low," Dr. Babber explained.
Unvaccinated people and children who are too young to be vaccinated are most at risk.
"We have a baby and he’s not old enough to get his vaccination for measles yet," said shopper Haleigh O'Brien. "It’s definitely a huge concern of ours."
Health officials are asking anyone with measles symptoms to call ahead to their healthcare provider before visiting a doctor's office, urgent care or emergency room. Providers will want to take isolation precautions for patients who show up with possible measles cases.
Collin County Health Services said the patient did not report going to any other public places while contagious.
This is the second confirmed case of measles in Collin County.
Measles is highly contagious and is primarily transmitted from person to person through the air, Collin County Health Services said. People with measles are contagious from four days before symptoms appear to four after symptoms appear.
The virus has an incubation period of 10 to 12 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so unvaccinated people may not show symptoms until sometime Friday through Sunday, March 22-24.