Measles—a rarity in the U.S. as a result of immunizations against the disease—cropped up earlier this year in an Orange County family, according to Dain Weister, Public Information Officer, Florida Department of Health – Orange/Seminole Counties (FDOH).
The four cases involved four siblings in one Orange county family. And in all cases, immunizations were not completed or totally up to date, so the cases serve as a good reminder of the importance of parents making sure children are current with immunizations.
Tori Sheahan, pediatric nurse practitioner and Coordinator of the School Nursing Initiative serving Winter Park High School and its elementary and middle feeder schools, said she had received no reports of measles cases in these schools during the previous school year.
While infectious, the recent confirmed measles case visited numerous local attractions and businesses in the attractions area of Orange County, according to FDOH officials. They recommend anyone who has been in this area in the period July 16 through July 22 and has developed a rash-like illness seek medical care.
While measles are rarely seen in the U.S., the FDOH said they still are common in 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. Visitors can bring measles to the United States and infect others. Unvaccinated people put themselves and others at risk for measles and its serious complications.
The symptoms of measles generally begin approximately seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to someone with measles, and include blotchy rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis), feeling run down, achy (malaise), and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots).
Measles is spread through the air by infectious droplets and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted in the period four days before the rash becomes visible to four days after the rash appears.
FDOH officials say the measles can be prevented through vaccination. Two doses are required for protection against measles; typically the first dose is given at the age of 12 -15 months, with the second dose given at 4 -6 years of age. Visit your doctor to get vaccinated or if not up to date on your vaccinations.