Milwaukee issues health alert after cab driver diagnosed with rubella
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE- The city of Milwaukee is issuing a health alert as a local cab driver has been diagnosed with rubella, as known as German measles.
The consequences for a pregnant woman's unborn baby can be devastating.
Tina Sutyla owns Heavenly Kidzz, a boutique in Bay View. Most of her clients are already mothers, or about to be. Sutyla's own kids have compromised immune systems, so when she heard Rubella was around, it was an unexpected reason to worry.
"Just the word (rubella). And then German measles, you know that sounds even worse," said Sutyla to TODAY'S TMJ4. "She touches everything so you have to worry about that."
Health officials say a cab driver at American United came down with the disease. And they want to talk to anyone who took a taxi from that company between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., April 13-21. Because if they come in contact with a pregnant woman, the effects on the fetus could be dramatic.
"A constellation of birth defects, developmental delay, seizures," describes Paul Biedrzycki of the Milwaukee Health Department. "A cab environment is almost ideal for that type of transmission depending on the duration of the cab ride and the amount of coughing or sneezing that occurs."
Rubella is spread through respiratory droplets. They can be passed through coughing, sneezing, or even talking in close proximity.
Making it trickier, it takes up to three weeks for the first symptoms to show. A person with rubella may spread the disease to others from 1 week before the rash begins, until 1-2 weeks after the rash disappears.
Health officials say because of the long incubation period, it could be another week before they start seeing other cases, if there are any. If you used that cab company or you start seeing any of the symptoms we mentioned, you should call your local health department right away.