DPH urges public to be aware of symptoms and up-to-date on vaccinations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
April 29, 2014 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today said it has confirmed a case of measles in a New Haven county adult, the third confirmed case this year in the state.
Because measles is a highly contagious disease, it can spread quickly among unvaccinated people. However, the majority of people exposed to measles are not at-risk of developing the disease since most people have either been vaccinated or have had measles in the past, before vaccination became routine.
“The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “While most residents have been vaccinated for measles, it’s important to know your vaccination status and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles so you can get medical attention.”
Symptoms of measles generally begin 7-14 days after a person is exposed to an infected person. A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and sore throat.
Three to five days after the start of these symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears, usually starting on a person’s face at the hairline and spreading downward to the entire body. At the time the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rash typically lasts at least a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to 4 days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears.
What you can do
Most Connecticut residents have been vaccinated, but if unsure, check with your physician. People who have had measles in the past or who have been vaccinated against measles are considered immune according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC recommends that children receive their first dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12-15 months. School-aged children need two doses of MMR vaccine.
Adults should have at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Certain additional groups at higher risk for exposure to measles need two doses of MMR, such as international travelers, health care workers, and college students. Adults born in the U.S. before 1957 are considered immune to measles from past exposures, but in situations where exposure to measles is likely, these adults may benefit from a dose of MMR vaccine to be safer.
Measles is very easily spread from person to person. If you have a fever and a rash and you think you might have measles, you should avoid public settings and telephone your healthcare providers BEFORE going directly to a healthcare facility so steps can be taken to avoid possibly exposing others.
In February two confirmed measles cases involving an adult and an infant occurred in Fairfield County. All three cases this year have recovered and none appear to be linked.
From 2006-2013, Connecticut had three reported cases of measles.
For more information about measles, please visit www.cdc.gov/measles.