DPH Confirms A Second Case of Measles In Fairfield County Household
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today said it has confirmed a second case of measles in a Fairfield County child. The child did not attend school while infectious. The child is a household contact of the child who contracted the first case of measles announced on April 9. DPH is collaborating with local partners to identify contacts and implement appropriate control measures. These are the first cases of measles in Connecticut since 2019.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that 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 protect yourself and your children from measles is to be vaccinated,” said DPH Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford. “One dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective, while two doses are about 97% effective. We must ensure we continue to protect our children from vaccine preventable illnesses through on-time vaccination.”
Very few people—about three out of 100—who get two doses of measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus. Measles vaccine does not cause measles illness.
Most Connecticut residents have been vaccinated. Vaccination with 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) is required to attend schools and colleges in Connecticut; however, students with medical or religious exemptions may attend school without being vaccinated. According to the 2019-2020 Statewide School Immunization Survey, 96.2% of Connecticut students were vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR by kindergarten entry. Exposed individuals who are not vaccinated against measles must stay out of school, or other high-risk settings, for a full 21 days after their last known exposure.
CDC recommends all children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12- through 15-months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
CDC also recommends that adults born after 1957 should receive at least one dose of MMR vaccine if they have never been vaccinated against measles. Adults born in the U.S. before 1957 are considered immune to measles from past exposures; in situations where exposure to measles is likely, these adults may benefit from a dose of MMR vaccine. Certain adults need two doses of MMR, such as college students, health care workers, international travelers, and persons at high risk for measles complications.
International travelers should be up-to-date on their vaccinations. Most cases of measles are acquired or linked to international travel. Most people who are diagnosed as having measles are not vaccinated or did not know their vaccination status. So far during 2021, other than in Connecticut, no other measles cases have been confirmed in the United States. From January 1 to December 31, 2020, 13 cases of measles were confirmed in the U.S.
Symptoms of measles generally begin 7-14 days after exposure 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 rash appears.
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 provider BEFORE going directly to a healthcare facility so steps can be taken to avoid possibly exposing others.
For more information about measles, please visit www.cdc.gov/measles.