Santa Cruz County health officials are advising the public to verify their measles immunization records after learning that someone with the virus was in Santa Cruz last week.

County officials said the potentially contagious person dined July 3 at Taqueria Los Pericos, located at 139 Water St. in Santa Cruz.

The public health department said unvaccinated people, or those with unknown vaccination status, who were at the taqueria between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. that day are especially at risk of developing measles seven to 21 days after being exposed.

Health officials said anyone who thinks they were exposed should review their immunization and medical records to determine if they are protected against measles.

People who have not had measles or who haven’t been vaccinated against measles may not be protected from the measles virus. These people should talk with a health care provider about receiving measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunizations.

A child's cheek displays the characteristic rash associated with measles. People exposed to the airborne virus can contract measles within 7-21 days, according to Santa Cruz County health officials. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

They should especially contact their health care provider if they are pregnant, have an infant, or have a weakened immune system regardless of vaccination history. Health officials said people should not go to their provider in-person or go to the emergency department for potential exposure.

These people should monitor themselves for illness such as fever and/or an unexplained rash from seven days to 21 days after their exposure. If symptoms develop, stay at home and call a health care provider immediately. If someone becomes ill enough that they need to seek medical attention in person, they should wear a mask and inform the registration staff that they have had a measles exposure so that appropriate isolation can occur in the health care setting.

Santa Cruz County public health officials said measles is a highly contagious viral illness. Measles typically begins with a mild to moderate fever accompanied by cough, runny nose, and red/watery eyes. Some cases also report diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Two to three days later, there is generally a fever and a red, blotchy rash appears, usually first on the face. This rash rapidly spreads downward to the chest and back and finally to the thighs and feet. The rash fades after about a week.

Measles is spread through the respiratory route and can live in the air for up to an hour in the airspace where an infectious person has coughed or sneezed. Other people can become infected by breathing the contaminated air.