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2 public places identified as possible measles exposure locations in metro Phoenix

An international visitor to the Valley recently tested positive for measles. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has identified two public places where people might have been exposed in late January.

The locations were Twin Peaks Camelback in Phoenix or the breakfast buffet inside the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Chandler on Jan. 27.

According to Dr. Nick Staab, the department only notifies the public of potential exposure this way when it’s not possible to contact everyone who might have been around the infected person.

“So you’ll notice they’re often either a restaurant or a space like that,” said Staab.

Otherwise, he says they’ll reach out directly.

“If you haven't heard from public health and you weren't at either of these two locations at the time indicated,” Staab said, “then your concern for exposure to measles is low.”

While measles is easy to transmit, Staab said not to panic.

“We have a very effective vaccine and many people are vaccinated against measles,” he said. “So if you have received your measles vaccine, if you're up to date, if your children are up to date, then the chance of you getting measles if you're exposed is very low.”

While Staab said that there is no general recommendation to get a booster for the measles vaccine, anyone with concerns should reach out to their healthcare provider.

One thing to keep in mind: Vaccine exemptions among Arizona kindergarteners have risen in recent years

“Community immunity is what really helps protect everyone,” said Staab. “It helps protect those people who for other reasons cannot get vaccinated. So when we see levels dropping, it's not going to protect those people. It's also not going to be helpful for people who choose to not be vaccinated.”

The recent infection and potential exposure notice can serve as an opportunity to help remind people.

“This is a completely preventable disease, and all we need to do is get those vaccines and make sure that our kids are vaccinated," Staab said.

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Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.