LANSING (WTOL) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed 15 cases of measles in Michigan so far in 2018, the highest level the state has seen since 1994 when 26 cases were reported.
It was recently learned that two passengers into Detroit Metro Airport were infected with the measles when they flew on Oct. 23. Travelers who flew that day are being asked to be alert to possible measles symptoms,
Measles is a vaccine-preventable respiratory infection that can result in hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis and death. The illness has a 10–21 day incubation period and initially presents with a high fever, red eyes, cough, runny nose, sensitivity to light and is followed by a red, raised body rash starting on the head and face that then progresses to the rest of the body. Individuals may be contagious for a few days before they present with symptoms, which increases the potential of exposing others to the infection.
As of Oct. 6, 142 measles cases have been confirmed throughout the United States, with many of the cases connected to international travel. Measles outbreaks have been reported throughout western Europe including in Romania, France, Greece and Italy. In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Health recently reported more than 1,300 measles patients, including a toddler who died from the illness. The ministry believes that the disease was imported by tourists and visitors who infected an unvaccinated population, largely among the nation’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.
“The increases in measles cases being reported drives home the importance of being up-to-date on vaccines,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Immunizations are the best way to protect our families and communities from the harmful, sometimes deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.”
Because measles is easily spread, vaccination is the best protection against the disease, health officials say. Successful prevention and control of measles is said to require high levels of immunity in all communities, sometimes referred to as “herd immunity.”
Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of the vaccine, health experts advise. The first of two routine childhood measles vaccine doses is given at 12 months of age. A second vaccine dose is given before the start of kindergarten.
For international travel, infants as young as 6 months should be vaccinated against measles. Measles vaccine, or other acceptable documentation of immunity to measles, is recommended for all persons travelling internationally.
In an effort to help parents protect their children from serious vaccine-preventable diseases, MDHHS is participating in the I Vaccinate campaign. I Vaccinate provides the facts parents need to make informed decisions about vaccinations. For more information about immunizations and the I Vaccinate campaign, visit IVaccinate.org.