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Sailor tested positive for measles at PA hospital, now medically cleared

The City of Port Arthur Health Department is reporting that a man on a ship that docked in the area last month tested positive for measles but has since been medically cleared.

The man, who is a native of India, began experiencing signs and symptoms of the measles around the middle of February and when the ship docked in Port Neches he was transported to The Medical Center of Southeast Texas where he underwent testing. Per the Centers for Disease Control guidelines he was cleared to travel back to his country on Feb. 25.

Prior to this the ship had docked in the Houston area where a different crewmember first showed signs and symptoms of the measles. He was brought to a hospital there where he was diagnosed, Judith Smith, director of the City of Port Arthur Health Department, said. The other crewmembers were given the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine but by this time they had already been exposed to the illness.

“The idea was to give everyone on board the vaccine but they had already been exposed so by the time the vessel docked in Port Neches the other man had the signs and symptoms,” she said.

Smith said the man went from the ship in Port Neches to the hospital and there was no danger to the public. The hospital, she added, was prepared and took precautions. In addition, the man did not leave the ship for shopping or eating in the area.

“The patient developed this while on the ship and when the ship docked he was brought to the hospital,” she said.

This marks the first recent measles case for Jefferson County. Smith said it would be documented as being in our county because that is where he was diagnosed. There were some suspect cases previously but all of them tested negative.

Measles is highly contagious and is transmitted primarily from person to person by respiratory droplets and is airborne spread. Signs and symptoms include fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose or conjunctivitis and generalized maculopapular rash.