The Hawaii State Department of Health has confirmed three cases of measles in the state, including two on Kauai and one on Maui.
The cases on the two islands are not related to each other and have separate travel histories, but all cases involve unvaccinated young adults who recently traveled either to the Philippines or Indonesia and Malaysia, the department said in a release.
“Measles is highly contagious, spreading through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing, and infecting 90 percent of the contacts who are not immune,” said Dr. Sarah Y. Park, state epidemiologist. “Measles outbreaks continue to occur both internationally and on the Mainland, especially in areas where vaccination is declining. As travel increases during the holiday season, so does our chance of seeing more cases.”
Since January, there have been 594 cases of measles reported in 22 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including two cases in Hawaii reported earlier this year. With the recently confirmed cases, Hawaii has a total of five confirmed cases in the state this year.
The symptoms of measles generally begin about 14 days after a person is infected and may include blotchy red rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes, feeling run down and achy, and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers inside the mouth.
DOH is urging everyone to check their immunization status and contact their healthcare provider if they need to be vaccinated.