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CDC reports cases across U.S., urges vaccination, isolation
re-posted from UDOH

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (June 23, 2011) -- The total number of confirmed measles cases in Utah has grown to 15, with known infected individuals from Cache County in the north to Millard County in Central Utah. Nine of the cases were in the Salt Lake Valley, five in Cache County, and one in Millard County. All 15 cases are no longer contagious; however, it is possible individuals may have been exposed to one of the cases and could still develop symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting the U.S. has a total of 159 confirmed cases and is on track for the worst measles year in more than a decade. This increase in cases is due to people being infected with the virus while visiting countries where outbreaks are occurring, and then spreading it to unprotected individuals after returning to the U.S.

The Utah Department of Health and Utah's 12 local health departments are urging all residents to take the outbreak seriously. The most important actions you can take are:

  • Make certain you and your family members have received the recommended doses of the MMR vaccine. Two doses of MMR are recommended for maximum protection. Individuals born before 1957 are considered immune. If you know you or your family members have not received the recommended two doses of MMR, call your provider or a local health clinic to get up-to-date according to the immunization schedule.
  • If you don't know your family's vaccine status, call your health care provider, local health department, or the Utah Immunization Hotline at 1-800-275-0659.
  • If you are ill with a rash and a fever of 101 degrees F or higher, or you believe you have been exposed to someone with measles, stay at home and call your doctor for advice. Contact your health care provider prior to visiting a medical facility. This will enable to the facility to take the necessary precautions to protect other individuals from possible exposure.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through respiratory droplets (i.e., talking, coughing, sneezing, etc.). Typically, individuals with measles start with a cough, red, watery eyes, a fever and a runny nose, with a rash that develops a few days later. The rash starts at the hair line and spreads down the face, neck, and trunk. Individuals are considered contagious from 4 days prior to 4 days after the rash starts.

Individuals who are not immunized or who have no history of disease and come in contact with someone with measles have a 90 percent chance of getting measles themselves. Symptoms generally start about 10-14 days after exposure.

The death rate from measles is 1 in 1000; complications of the disease include ear infection, bronchitis, blindness, encephalitis (brain swelling) and pneumonia. In pregnant women, measles can cause pregnancy loss, preterm labor and low birth weight. The best protection is through vaccination.

Re-posted with permission from the Utah Department of Health. See http://health.utah.gov/epi/fact_sheets/measles.html.

Related Links

CDC - Measles Page