While many Americans are vaccinated against viruses like Measles, outbreaks do still occur, and currently, there have been 35 measles cases reported in fifteen states, including Indiana.

What Causes an Increase in Measles Cases in the US?

What causes an increase in measles cases in America? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contributes it to those who travel abroad and may bring the virus into the United States. They also say unvaccinated populations can contribute to a rise in cases as well.

<ul><li>an <strong>increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad</strong> and bring it into the U.S., and/or</li><li>further spread of measles in U.S. <strong>communities with pockets of unvaccinated people - CDC </strong>.</li></ul>
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What Are Measles and What Do Symptoms Look Like?

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. In addition to a rash commonly seen in those infected by the virus, it also causes respiratory issues with symptoms including high fever, runny nose, cough, and red, watery eyes. Symptoms typically take seven to fourteen days to appear after a person becomes infected by the virus. The CDC says that when the rash appears, usually 3 to 5 days after the initial onset of other symptoms, fevers can spike to more than 104 degrees.

How Is Measles Transmitted?

Measles is highly contagious and easily communicable. Those infected with the disease can spread it to others for "four days before through four days after" the first appearance of the rash. Since the virus lives within the mucus and throat of an infected person, it becomes aerosolized when they cough or sneeze, distributing the virus into the air around them. The measles virus can live in the air for two hours after an infected person leaves a space.

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History of Measles and the Vaccine

The measles vaccine program was first introduced in 1963 in the United States. In the years prior, it is estimated that 3 to 4 million people in America contracted the measles virus each year, while only approximately 500,000 cases were reported annually. The measles virus contributed to an average of 48,000 hospitalizations, 400 to 500 deaths, and approximately 1,000 cases of encephalitis each year.

Measles Cases in Indiana 2024

According to reports from the Indiana Department of Health, there has been a single confirmed case of measles found in a resident of Lake County, Indiana. This marks the first confirmed case of the virus in the state since 2019.

Because measles is so easily spread, a single case is considered an outbreak. When infected people sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air. Those droplets remain infective in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. - LakeCounty.In.Gov

You can access a Measles FAQ here. If you believe that you or your child have been exposed to the measles virus, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

[Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventions]

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