Jeffery Murawski was supposed to stay in his home until he was no longer contagious and couldn’t infect anyone with measles. He didn’t even last a week.
As Fox 6 News reports, in May 2018, the 57-year-old from Brookfield, Wisconsin was placed on a 24-hours-a-day quarantine by the Waukesha County Health Department. According to WDJT, the quarantine was supposed to last just over a week, but Murawski only lasted a few days.
Deputies were posted outside Murawski’s home to enforce the quarantine. However, Murawski later told authorities that “he needed to get out of the house because he was going crazy.”
So he persuaded his wife to help him leave, hiding in his wife’s vehicle so that the police wouldn’t see him. His wife later told police she went along with the plan “against her better judgment” and took her husband to Gold’s Gym.
Murawski admitted that he went into the gym to work out, but claimed he only spent a few minutes there because he felt, “very guilty,” about it.
However, a few minutes of exposure may be all it takes to pass on the disease. One expert told WDJT:
“It is exquisitely contagious. You can be in a room that someone with measles had left two hours earlier and still get the disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), measles is highly contagious — so contagious that 90 percent of those close to an infected person will get the disease if they aren’t immune.
Measles spreads through coughing and sneezing, but the virus can live for two hours in the space where the infected person was. Even breathing infected air after the person left — or touching a contaminated surface, then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes — can result in a measles infection.
Symptoms of measles usually appear between seven and 14 days after infection. Early signs include a fever, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and a cough. A few days later, small, white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after infection, the rash appears. It usually appears as flat, red spots on the face and hairline then spreads down the body.
The CDC reports that as of February 28, there had been 206 confirmed cases of measles in 2019.
Murawksi was caught breaking quarantine when an off-duty deputy recognized him walking down the street and getting in his wife’s car. On March 1, both Murawski and his wife were charged with misdemeanor counts of communicable disease — protection of the public. Their first court date is set for March 25.