INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring the spread of measles in 21 states, including Indiana.
The CDC says there have already been 107 cases reported this year. The majority of those cases were in people who were not vaccinated. Indiana State Department of Health says Indiana has not had any measles cases related to outbreaks this year but one case was reported this year. The Monroe County Health Department said it was alerted to a case of measles back in January.
Measles is an airborne virus that spreads through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms show up in 10 to 14 days after exposure. The CDC says measles can be prevented with the MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of the MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. MMR vaccine is one of the required school immunizations in Indiana. The CDC says two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.
Dr. Michael McKenna with St. Vincent Medical Group urged all parents to get their child vaccinated. He said measles is contagious and can even send people to the hospital.
“It can suppress your immune system a little bit so your susceptible to overwhelming infections. The biggest one is pneumonia because it affects the respiratory system,” he said.
He was not surprised though to hear about a measles outbreak because they are seeing rising rates of people not vaccinating their child.
“It is either going to prevent the disease if you get it or its going to make it so it is exceptionally mild so you might not even know you really have it,” Dr. McKenna said.
The CDC says measles are still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa, so travelers with measles can bring it into the U.S.
In addition to Indiana, the other states being monitored are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, and Washington D.C.