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The La Crosse and Trempealeau county health departments are warning people about recent potential exposure to measles in its contagious stage at several sites in La Crosse, Onalaska and Galesville.

The caution comes after the departments were notified that a visitor from another state had measles at the time, La Crosse County Health Department officials said. Measles, which can be prevented with a vaccine, is a serious respiratory disease.

The departments have contacted places they have confirmed the visitor went to to recommend responses to their employees and to obtain contact lists of patrons.

The health departments listed the following sites:

  • The Comfort Inn at 1223 Crossing Meadows Drive in Onalaska April 13 through 16.
  • The Dollar Tree at 2910 Market Place in Onalaska on April 14.
  • St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 20344 W Ridge Ave. in Galesville between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. April 15.
  • Champions Riverside Resort at W16751 Pow Wow Lane in Galesville from 12:30 to 5 p.m. April 15.
  • The Fairfield Inn at 434 S. Third St. in La Crosse, between 6:30 p.m. and midnight April 15.
  • Texas Roadhouse at 4310 Hwy. 16 in La Crosse between 9 and 11:15 p.m. April 15.
  • Additional location, added in updated story Monday: Beedle’s Bar and Restaurant at W24966 Hwy. 54/93 in Galesville, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. April 13.

Whenever possible, people who may have been at those places during those times will be contacted to inform them about signs or symptoms of measles, determine whether they are at risk for the disease and recommend that they contact their health care providers if they have risk factors, signs or symptoms.

“If someone has been potentially exposed and has signs consistent with measles, it is important they stay isolated from others to keep from spreading it,” said La Crosse County Health Director Jen Rombalski.

Jen Rombalski mug


“Measles is extremely contagious, and you can have very severe outcomes,” she said. “For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.

“If you are diagnosed with measles, it is important to follow the instructions of your health care provider and public health officials to protect your family and community,” Rombalski said.

Health care providers should isolate suspected measles patients and immediately report suspected cases to the local public health agency.

Measles causes a high fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes and a rash. It can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can remain in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area.

People most at risk include those who are pregnant, infants and those who have not been vaccinated.

The measles vaccine, the MMR vaccine, is one of the most effective immunization shots, with one dose being 93 percent efficient after one dose if a person is exposed to the virus and 97 percent effective after two doses. Doctors recommend that children receive their first dose of the vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and a second dose when they are 4 to 6 years old.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers school-age children and adults to be protected from measles if they have received two doses of MMR vaccine, and preschoolers to be shielded if they have received one dose.

People born before 1957 are considered to have natural immunity, according to the health departments.

The health departments advise that people who visited any of listed sites and are unsure whether they are protected through vaccination or natural immunity to check their immunization records or consult their health care providers.

Wisconsin residents can check their immunization records at the state Department of Health Services website

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Mike Tighe is the Tribune newsroom's senior citizen. That said, he don't get no respect from the cub reporters as he goes about his duly-appointed rounds on the health, religion and whatever-else-lands-in-his-inbox beats. Call him at 608-791-8446.

(1) comment


Jesus people... get your kid measles vacd

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