By Sarah Gray
March 21, 2018

Health officials are warning the public about possible measles exposures in the St. Louis area that could have occurred earlier this month.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said the measles exposures might have taken place March 13 and 14, in locations including The Magic House in Kirkwood; Racanelli’s New York Pizzeria in Kirkwood; and Homewood Suites in Chesterfield.

Both the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health are investigating.

Measles symptoms usually appear seven to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The first symptoms can include high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, the CDC says, and small white spots may appear inside the mouth two to three days after symptoms surface.

Measles, which is a highly contagious virus, spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live for up to two hours in the area where a person has coughed or sneezed, the CDC says. A person can become infected by breathing contaminated air or touching a contaminated surface, then their eyes, nose or mouth. A person with measles is contagious four days before and four days after the rash appears.

“Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected,” the CDC warns.

Measles is preventable through the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, which is administered in two doses starting at 12 to 15 months and later between two to four years of age.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is asking that those who may have been exposed and show symptoms call their doctor, so that health professionals can take necessary precautions “to reduce possible exposures to others at the facility.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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