BROOKFIELD, Wis. (WITI) -- A Brookfield couple faces criminal charges after prosecutors said they knowingly may have exposed the public to measles.
Charges were filed against the man and woman on March 1, 2019.
A criminal complaint said on May 1, 2018, a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy pulled over Christine Bennett, 58, along Bluemound Road. In the passenger seat of the vehicle was her husband, Jeffery Murawski, 57, who was allegedly infected with measles.
Documents showed officials with the Waukesha County Health Department ordered Murawski to stay at his home 24 hours a day until he was deemed non-contagious. Instead, prosecutors said he admitted "to going inside Gold's Gym to work out," but was only there a few minutes because "he felt very guilty."
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, measles is a serious respiratory disease that spreads when patients cough or sneeze. One in four people diagnosed with measles will have to be hospitalized -- and one or two in 1,000 will die.
"We do know that measles is one of the most contagious diseases around. For an individual that has measles, nine out of every 10 persons in that area will come down with measles if they don't already have protection," said Stephanie Schauer of the Wisconsin Immunization Program.
The Centers for Disease Control's website notes that is why the measles vaccine is so important. While there have not been any confirmed cases in Wisconsin since 2014, 206 have already been reported across the U.S. so far in 2019.
Prosecutors said deputies stood guard outside the couple's home during Murawski's quarantine. But he "hid in his wife's vehicle" so law enforcement could not see him. Bennett said she was in on the plan "against her better judgment." Murawski apologized "profusely," saying that "he needed to get out of the house because he was going crazy."
Coincidentally, the Gold's Gym location that Murawski visited has closed for good.
Murawski and Bennett are each charged with one misdemeanor count of communicable disease - protection of the public. They have initial court appearances set for March 25.