RIDGEFIELD, CT — Connecticut is among 21 states impacted by a nationwide measles outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nationwide, at least 107 cases have been identified, according to the CDC. Connecticut has reported at least three confirmed measles cases in 2018, according to the state Department of Health.
“Cases of measles, while not widespread in the United States, are not uncommon and measles is circulating throughout the country and internationally. The single best way to protect yourself and your children from measles is to be vaccinated,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. “While most people have had the measles vaccination, it’s important to know your vaccination status and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles so you can get medical attention.”
In May, the DPH confirmed a case of measles in a Hartford County adult. That announcement came on the heels of 2 child cases reported in April from New Haven County. The infected children were under a year old, resided in the same household, traveled internationally and acquired their infections outside of the country. The Hartford County adult had had no contact with the New Haven County toddlers and acquired the infection out of state, according to health department officials.
Most Connecticut residents have been vaccinated. Vaccination with 2 doses of 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 2016-2017 Statewide School Immunization Survey, 97 percent of Connecticut students were vaccinated with 2 doses of MMR by kindergarten entry. Exposed individuals that are not vaccinated against measles must stay out of school, or other high risk settings, for 21 days after their last known exposure.
From January 1 through July 14, 107 people from 21 states and the District of Columbia were infected. Those states are: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
In 2017, 118 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles, according to the CDC, so the number of 2018 cases should easily outpace last year’s total. In 2016, 86 people from 19 states were reported to have measles.
In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated, according to the CDC.
The symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.
Measles typically begins with:
- High fever,
- Runny nose (coryza), and
- Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).
Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth
Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots, according to the CDC
The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees.
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