A 57-year-old man from Wisconsin has been criminally charged for breaking a measles quarantine when he left his home to go the gym.
Charged With Misdemeanor For Breaking Measles Quarantine
Jeffery Murawski was charged on Feb. 22 with a misdemeanor count for willful violation of recommendations of a local health officer or subjecting others to risk of contracting an infectious disease.
Murawski's wife, Christine Bennett, was also charged with the same misdemeanor for allegedly aiding her husband in taking action that may have exposed people in public places to a communicable disease.
The incident occurred on May 1, 2018. Murawski was under quarantine in his home, where he was supposed to stay 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until he was deemed non-contagious by health officials or until May 7, 2018.
Murawski, however, allegedly went out of the house hiding inside a car his wife drove and proceeded to a gym. He was unfortunately spotted by an off-duty sheriff's deputy who was aware of the quarantine order. An on-duty deputy later pulled over the car carrying Murawski and Bennett.
Murawski admitted breaking the quarantine when he went inside Gold's Gym to work out, albeit he told police he only spent a few minutes at the gym because he felt guilty for going out. He reasoned he was going crazy since he had to stay inside his home since April 26.
It was not clear if Murawski had measles or he was under quarantine in case he was infected by the communicable disease. His immediate family members living within the same residence, however, were allowed to enter and leave home anytime because they had been vaccinated against the virus.
"I can tell you when someone is quarantined, it is not because they have the measles, it is because that person was exposed and does not have proof of immunity," Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said.
The charges filed against Murawski and Bennett carry up to 30 days of jail time and a $500 fine.
Highly Contagious Virus
Measles is highly contagious. The virus can spread through coughing and sneezing. It can also live for up to two hours in the air where the infected person coughed or sneezed.
"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 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned. "Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears."