CALHOUN COUNTY,Mich. — The following information is being provided by the Calhoun County Public Health Department (CCPHD) as a public service update on the Measles Disease.
Michelle Thorne, Personal Health Manager for the CCPHD, announces that a probable case of the measles was presented to the CCPHD. The child affected is under the age of one year, too young to have received the first of two recommended Measles/Mump/Rubella (MMR) vaccine, and is known to have had recent travel out of the country and exposure to a rash illness.
A contact investigation by the Calhoun County and Kalamazoo County Health Departments is occurring, looking for individuals who are at risk for contracting measles. Exposure may have occurred on Tuesday, April 30th at a Battle Creek area pediatric office or Kalamazoo area emergency room. Those identified as having been exposed are being contacted regarding whether they have had the measles or have ever been vaccinated against it. CCPHD continues to gather information and will provide updates as information is received.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Measles is most common in late winter and spring. The measles virus can infect any person of any age who has not previously had the disease or the measles vaccine. The infection is highly contagious and spread by airborne droplets and by direct contact with nose or throat secretions of infected persons. A person is contagious from about 4 days before the rash starts until 4 days after the rash develops.
Symptoms start about seven to ten days after being exposed to the measles and last from one to two weeks. The illness begins with a runny nose, watery eyes, cough, and high fever. After two to three days, tiny white spots may appear on the inner cheeks, gums, and roof of mouth, surrounded by redness. Two to four days after symptoms appear, a raised, red rash starts on the face and spreads down the body and out to the arms and legs. The rash usually lasts five to six days. There is no specific treatment or medicine to cure measles. Bed rest, increased fluids, cool or warm compresses, and Tylenol can be used to reduce fever and discomfort. The sick person should stay at home until four days after the appearance of the rash.
“Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3–4 million people in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis. Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases in the United States compared with the pre-vaccine era, and in 2009, only 71 cases of measles were reported in the United States.” (http://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html)
If you have never had the measles, have not been vaccinated against the measles, and are having symptoms, please call your health care provider immediately and make arrangements to be seen. If you don’t know your measles vaccine history and you have possibly been exposed to measles, it is recommended that you receive a vaccination within 72 hours of exposure. It is important to tell your health care provider when you call that you may have been exposed to measles and that you are unvaccinated so they can provide you a mask upon entering the building to prevent others from being exposed. Please ask your health care provider to call the Calhoun County Public Health Department immediately if they believe you might have measles. NOTE: Pregnant women and children under 1 year of age typically cannot receive the vaccine and are encouraged to stay away from infected or potential infected persons.
Health care providers are reminded to immediately report suspect measles cases to their local health department. Prompt diagnostic testing and public health follow-up investigation of such cases are essential.
Parents are urged to discuss their child’s vaccination schedule with their health care providers to ensure that children are up to date on all recommended vaccines.
Additional information is available at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Website http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html or by contacting the CCPHD at (269) 969-6370.