Durham County health officials warn of possible measles exposure

Health Alert

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham County health officials say that people were possibly exposed to measles at a coffee shop on Monday.

The Durham County Department of Public Health said Saturday it was informing the public “out of an abundance of caution.”

So far, there are no active confirmed measles cases in North Carolina.

However, a possible case “may have been infectious” at Bean Traders at 105 West N.C. 54 between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Monday.

“There is no ongoing risk for the public who have visited or want to visit Bean Traders outside of this time period,” a news release from the health department said.

Saturday, Durham resident Steve Quessy learned about the possible exposure at the coffee shop he often visits.

“We don’t want measles hanging around,” Quessy said. “It can be pretty serious.”

Measles is a highly contagious illness and is spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person.

Quessy remembers getting measles as a young boy.

“You come out in a rash, your whole skin is covered in red blotches,” Quessy said. “You just felt miserable. It’s like having the flu.”

While he believes he’s now immune to the illness, he’s concerned about others who could be at risk.

“I would take it seriously if I hadn’t been vaccinated,” he said.

Saturday, the coffee shop posted a statement on Instagram saying in part, “We are sad to have this take place in our shop. We are diligent with our own employee health policies to keep our public safe.”

The full statement from Bean Traders

The shop went on to say they were never contacted by anyone about the subject until Saturday, and they would have alerted their customers to look for symptoms.

“We were notified of a possible case yesterday (Friday),” Dr. Arlene Sena with the Durham County Department of Public Health said. “The investigation continued to today (Saturday), and we notified Bean Traders as soon as we were aware of that information.”

Sena said they’re seeing an outbreak across the U.S. with measles, which she said typically is a rare infection.

“There are some individuals who haven’t been fully immunized, for example, children less than 12 years of age,” she said.

She believes vaccinations are key.

“If they’re fully immunized, that means they have a history of having two measles, mumps, rubella vaccination, they have 97 percent protection against measles,” Sena said.

For Quessy, he hopes people heed the advice of medical professionals.

Durham County health officials also told CBS 17 there’s only one reported possible case in Durham, with two potential areas of exposure in the community.

They said based on the date of exposure, you should pay attention for any symptoms up until July 1.

Symptoms include a rash, runny nose, cough, red, watery eyes and fever greater than 101 degrees.

Officials said if you have not been vaccinated against measles or are immunocompromised or pregnant and were at the Bean Traders during the time frame, please call the Durham County Department of Public Health at 919-560-HELP.

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