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Wait, Vaccinate! U.S. Measles Cases on the Rise - Protect Your Children Now

Public Date: 6/28/2011 12:00 AM
Contact: Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer
Phone Number: 248-858-1410

Oakland County, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division is urging parents to make sure their children's vaccinations are up to date before traveling because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded the highest number of reported measles cases in the U.S. since 1996. As of mid - June 2011, more than 150 cases of measles have been reported to the CDC from over 25 states. Most cases have been linked to unvaccinated U.S. citizens traveling abroad, unvaccinated visitors in the U.S. or unvaccinated people exposed to the imported cases.

"Parents are encouraged to make sure their children are up-to-date with their measles vaccinations before traveling this summer," says Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer of the Oakland County Health Division. "Early summer is the perfect time to vaccinate children before the back to school rush in August and September."

Early vaccination ensures protection during the summer when children may be exposed due to traveling and summertime visits with family and friends.

"A person can spread measles up to four days before and until four days after a rash appears," says Forzley. "As a result, measles is highly contagious and it’s important to stay updated on vaccines to avoid spreading disease to infants too young to be vaccinated."

All healthy children should be vaccinated at 12 – 15 months of age with the combination vaccine for Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR).  A second dose is usually given between four and six years of age; however, it can be given as soon as four weeks after the first dose.

The Oakland County Health Division provides immunizations at the Pontiac, Southfield and Walled Lake offices on Mondays, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  For further information regarding measles or other viral infections, please visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health or call 800-848-5533 to speak to the Nurse-On-Call.

Measles is a highly contagious illness spread through coughing and sneezing. After an infected person leaves a place, the virus remains contagious up to two hours on surfaces and in the air. Measles can cause severe health complications including pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death.

Symptoms of measles include:

  • Hard, dry cough
  • Sneezing or runny nose
  • Watery or red eyes
  • Fever which rises when rash appears (101º F or higher)
    Rash that is red, raised, blotchy; starts on face, spreads to trunk, arms and legs
  • Tiny white spots on the inner cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth surrounded by redness