Despite the rumors, nobody has measles in Gila County.
Two young children with rashes were tested for the disease, and the results returned negative, said Matt Bolinger, director of emergency management for Gila County.
The second case arose from heightened awareness with the first one, he said.
“We did have one very observant physician in the Payson area,” Bolinger said. “Measles is always a concern for the public health,” he added, because the disease is so contagious.
The physician notified the county health department, which worked with the Payson Regional Medical Center to get lab samples, which were then driven to the state lab in Phoenix for testing.
“The state lab is kind of like the gold standard for lab results,” said Bolinger.
Signs on various medical centers in the area, warning people of a potential outbreak, started rampant rumors, none of which were true.
Measles cases have arisen in other areas of the country, which Bolinger said made medical officials take extra precautions.
“I know that maybe it seems like sometimes we go overboard,” Bolinger said. However, he added that appropriate precautions are necessary to manage possible hazards to public health.