Louisiana state health officials are investigating a confirmed case of measles in New Orleans. The illness was confirmed through laboratory testing in a recent traveler from Europe to New Orleans.
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that can spread rapidly amongst individuals who are unvaccinated. In extreme cases, the illness can lead to hospitalization and even death. The individual found to have measles is now under care in a New Orleans hospital.
The individual identified to have measles traveled to New Orleans late last week from the United Kingdom. He became increasingly ill through the week and was admitted to the hospital over the weekend. Doctors quickly recognized that the individual may have measles and sent samples to the Office of Public Health laboratory for testing. All samples have come back positive for measles.
The state Office of Public Health is working with the New Orleans City health department to identify and notify those who may have come into contact with this person and to implement measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“Measles is extremely rare in the U.S. because almost all children are vaccinated before they enter school. Nonetheless, we take measles very seriously and will take all steps to alert the public and give them the information to best protect themselves,” said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer. “Our epidemiologists are working to learn where the individual has traveled, and where he has visited since landing in New Orleans to try and determine if other people may have been exposed.”