No measles in patient whose symptoms sparked evacuation of local clinic

May 17, 2019


Measles, as seen here on a patient’s abdomen three days after the onset of a measles infection, is highly contagious. When a patient showed up with measles-like symptoms at an Irondequoit health clinic, the staff evacuated the building. The patient was later determined not to have measles.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A patient whose symptoms shut down an Irondequoit health clinic over measles fears earlier this week has tested negative for that disease.

Rochester Regional Health staff shut down the system’s Riedman campus in Irondequoit on Wednesday after an adult patient showed up with symptoms that could have been caused by measles.

The Monroe County public health department confirmed Friday that the patient did not have the virus.

Medical professionals’ suspicions of measles-like symptoms are high these days amid an ongoing outbreak of the disease downstate and decreasing vaccination rates in some parts of the country, according to public health officials and leaders at Rochester Regional Health.

Even though the patient in this case did not have measles, Monroe County public health commissioner Michael Mendoza said Rochester Regional staff did the right thing in evacuating their clinic.

“We interrupt care when we have to because we want to protect people’s health and safety,” Mendoza said. “It’s an inconvenience, no doubt, and we don’t take it lightly, but we do whatever we can, particularly when you’re talking about something that’s contagious like measles.”

Rochester Regional spokesperson Veronica Chiesi Brown said the clinic was cleaned thoroughly after the patient with the suspected measles case arrived late Wednesday morning.

“I’d describe it as, like, an intense cleaning of your bathroom, 100 times over, on steroids,” Chiesi Brown said.

After a few hours of cleaning and disinfection, the clinic was operating as normal by the end of the day, said Rochester Regional officials.

Measles can spread rapidly through a population if vaccination rates are not near 95%. The disease is one of the leading causes of childhood blindness in parts of the world where vaccination is not widespread. Federal authorities declared measles eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, but it’s making a comeback in some communities today.