State health officials have confirmed two cases of measles in Hamilton County, and have identified an additional two probable measles cases in Boone County. The Indiana State Dept. of Health is working with local health departments and health care providers to identify additional cases of measles, and to prevent further transmission of the disease.
Officials said one of the infected individuals visited the Super Bowl festivities in downtown Indianapolis on Feb.3, but health officials report the individual did not go into the National Football League Experience at the Indiana Convention Center.
Measles is a highly-contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is rare in the U.S. because of high levels of vaccination with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. More than 95 percent of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to measles, and more than 99 percent will be protected after receiving a second dose. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected.
Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 1 year of age, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten, but children as young as 6 months old can receive the measles vaccine if they are at risk. Individuals born before 1957 are presumed to be immune to measles. If you are unsure about your vaccination history, check with your health care provider, as they have access to vaccination records.
Measles begin with a fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes about seven to 10 days after exposure. The fever increases and can increase to as high as 105 F. Two to four days later, a rash starts on the face and upper neck. It spreads down the back and trunk, and then extends to the arms and hands, as well as the legs and feet. After approximately five days, the rash fades the same order in which it appeared. Measles is highly contagious. When infected persons sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air. Those droplets remain active and contagious on infected surfaces for up to two hours.
What you can do
If you are experiencing the symptoms of measles, stay home and call your doctor. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and alert your doctor if you think you have been in contact with an infected person. If you are ill with measles, remain home and away from others, especially unvaccinated infants, people with diseases affecting their immune systems and pregnant women.
The Hamilton County Health Dept. is located at 18030 Foundation Dr., Noblesville. They can be reached at 776-8500. For more information about measles, visit www.cdc.gov/measles.
By Robert Herrington
Robert is the managing editor of Current in Noblesville.