Measles Outbreak – March 2013
(adapted from www.CDC.gov)
Each year, on average, 60 people in the United States are reported to have measles. But, in 2011, the number of reported cases was higher than usual—222 people had the disease. Nearly 40% of these people got measles in other countries, including countries in Europe and Asia. They brought the disease to the United States and spread it to others. This caused 17 measles outbreaks in various U.S. communities. On March 28, 2013, the Broward Health Department confirmed that a 41 year-old South Florida woman contracted the disease while traveling outside the United States.
Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000. So, the disease no longer spreads year round in this country. But, the disease is still common throughout the world, including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when they travel internationally. They can bring measles to the United States and infect others. Unvaccinated people put themselves and others at risk for measles and its serious complications. Children, teenagers, and adults should be up to date on their measles vaccination, especially before they leave for international travel.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
The symptoms of measles generally begin about 7-14 days after a person is infected, and includes fever greater than 101ºF (38.3ºC); a rash lasting 3 days or more; and the following symptoms: cough, watery eyes, and/or red eyes. It is mostly commonly diagnosed in someone who has recently traveled outside the United States or who has had contact with someone who traveled outside the United States. Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears. The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades. Patients with weak immune systems may not show the rash or may show a slightly different rash than described above.
If your child is up to date with their vaccines, then they should be protected from measles. However, if your child has fever with a rash lasting more than 3 days or has been exposed to someone who is diagnosed with measles, you should call your doctor and be seen.