(LANSING, MI) – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced a second confirmed case of measles in Michigan. This case is an adult and the direct result of an exposure to the state’s first case of the year in late March.
The two individuals, who are not members of the same family or otherwise related, were both passengers on the same flight when the first individual was contagious.
“This underscores the importance of routine vaccination for both children and adults, and of making certain as many Michiganders as possible have protective immunity against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS. “Measles is highly contagious, and though it is generally a rare disease in the United States – in fact it was eliminated from the country in 2000 – it shows up every year as a result of travel to other parts of the world where it continues to be a common illness.”
Measles is a viral infection that can result in pneumonia, brain inflammation, hospitalization, and death. The illness starts with a high fever, runny nose, cough, reddened, light-sensitive eyes, and is followed by a red, raised body rash starting on the head and face which progresses to the rest of the body.
A person with measles may be contagious for a few days before they start having tell-tale symptoms, increasing the possibility of exposing others to the infection. They remain contagious until several days after the rash appears.
The measles virus spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing.
Because measles is highly communicable, vaccination is the best line of defense. Successfully controlling it and preventing outbreaks requires high levels of immunity in all communities.
Last year, Michigan had one case of measles. From 2001 – 2012, the average number of measles cases in the Unites States per year was about 60. In 2014, there were 667 cases in the US including five cases in Michigan.
The vast majority of people who get measles have not been vaccinated against it.