Arlington, VA

A person with measles might have exposed people to the disease at a local restaurant last weekend.

Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Health disclosed today that the measles patient visited Kabob Palace in Crystal City, at 2333 S. Eads Street, from about 9 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday. The patient also spent time Dulles International Airport and sites in Fairfax County, including a hotel and Inova Fairfax Hospital.

The state health department’s accounting of where the patient visited suggests he or she was visiting from outside the country.

In a press release Friday evening, Arlington County provided advice for anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to the highly-contagious disease:

Out of an abundance of caution, Health Districts in northern Virginia are informing people who were at various locations — including Kabob Palace (2333 S. Eads St., Arlington, VA 22202), on Jan. 26-27, 2020, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. — that they may have been exposed to a person with measles.

Northern Virginia area health officials are mounting a coordinated effort to identify people who may have been exposed.

Measles is a highly contagious illness that is spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact with droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of an infected individual. Measles symptoms usually appear in two stages. In the first stage, most people have a fever of greater than 101 degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough. The second stage begins around the third to seventh day when a rash begins to appear on the face and spreads over the entire body. Based on the date of exposure, we have determined that if you were infected with measles, you may develop symptoms as late as February 19, 2020.

What should you do if you were at one of the locations at the time specified?

  • If you have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine (either the measles, mumps and rubella [MMR] vaccine or a measles only vaccine which is available in other countries) you are protected and do not need to take any action.
  • If you have received only one dose of a measles containing vaccine, you are very likely to be protected and your risk of being infected with measles from any of these exposures is very low.  However, to achieve complete immunity, contact your health care provider about getting a second vaccine dose.
  • If you have never received a measles containing vaccine nor had a documented case of measles, you may be at risk of getting measles from this exposure. Contact your local health department or health care provider for advice, or come to one of Arlington County Public Health Division’s weekly walk-in clinics. Visit the Immunization Clinic page for more information about times, locations, and costs.
  • If you notice the symptoms of measles, stay home and away from others and immediately call your primary health care provider or health department to discuss further care. Call ahead before going to the office or the emergency room and tell them that you were exposed to measles.

Measles is easily preventable through a safe and effective MMR vaccine. The best protection against future measles cases is the vaccination of all susceptible persons. Two doses are recommended for most individuals with the first dose given at age 12-15 months and the second prior to kindergarten entry (age 4-6 years).

Measles is common in many parts of the world, including popular tourist destinations. All persons who will be traveling internationally should be evaluated for measles immunity and vaccinated as needed. Infants too young to be vaccinated should avoid travel to areas with measles until they can be vaccinated.

Residents with additional questions about this measles investigation can call 703-267-3511. For more information on measles, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s measles page.

Photo via Google Maps

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