Health officials warn of exposure to measles in Ann Arbor

by Jared Lewis April 16, 2017, 0:55

Michigan's second measles case of 2017 has been confirmed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in connection with the first case, which was travel-related. Anyone who suspects measles should seek medical treatment.

The health department notes this is not a matter of food safety or restaurant sanitation. However, health officials say national case counts have been rising. Measles can cause complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). It is highly contagious and spreads easily by coughing, sneezing or even being in the same room with someone who has measles. That person is still contagious until several days after the rash appears. The illness starts with a high fever, runny nose, cough, reddened light-sensitive eyes, and is followed by a red, raised body rash starting on the head and face which progresses to the rest of the body.

This increases the possibity of exposing others to the infectino.

"As long as everything goes in the usual public health prevention and investigation control measures, then I would not anticipate an outbreak, but we do depend on people keeping their immunizations up to date", says Wells.

The outbreak in Minnesota is mostly limited to the Somali-Americans in the area, with seven out of eight children in the community affected by the disease.

"Hopefully none of the people who have been potentially exposed to this would catch the measles", he said. From 2001 to 2012, the average number of measles cases in the Unites States per year was about 60. But in recent years there have been more, a cause of concern among public health authorities. In 2014, 667 people in the US contracted measles, including five people in MI. "The measles vaccine is effective and safe", said Dr. Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, the county agency's medical director.

Having two doses of MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart is fully protective. However, given that no other passengers on the flight have apparently contracted measles, Wells believes it is unlikely any other passengers on that flight will come down with it. "It's also so contagious that if you are in the same airspace as an individual who has the measles, that virus can live up to two hours in the airspace, so you can contract the disease that way as well".

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