A confirmed case of measles in a 15 year old male traveler was reported to the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. While infectious, the traveler visited local attractions and businesses between January 1–3, 2015, before leaving the state by plane on January 3. The Department has notified places the patient may have visited, individuals who may have been exposed and health care providers in both counties. The Department is also working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify and notify persons possibly exposed during airline travel.

Miami-Dade County map Image/David Benbennick
Miami-Dade County map
Image/David Benbennick

“We are currently working closely with local community partners and CDC to identify any other potential cases,” said Deputy Secretary for Health and Deputy State Health Officer for Children’s Medical Services Dr. Celeste Philip. “Out of an abundance of caution, it is important for those who think they may have been exposed to contact their health care provider for guidance right away. In addition, it’s important for everyone to make sure they have received the measles vaccination because those who are fully immunized have very little risk of developing the disease.”

Measles is very rare in countries and regions of the world where vaccination coverage is high. There are still sporadic cases of measles in the United States because travelers who are not fully immunized can become infected before or during travel abroad and spread the infection to unvaccinated or unprotected persons.

Persons generally can be considered immune to measles if they: Were born before 1957, have documentation of physician diagnosed measles, have serologic evidence of immunity to measles and have documentation of adequate vaccination (criteria for adequate vaccination depends on a person’s age).

All persons born in or after 1957 should have documentation of at least one dose of measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine or other evidence of measles immunity. Adolescents and adults may require two doses of MMR. Children should be immunized against measles with the combination MMR vaccine. Children should receive two doses, with the first at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at four to six years of age.

Measles is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted from four days before the rash becomes visible to four days after the rash appears. The symptoms of measles generally begin approximately seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to someone with measles, and include: Blotchy rash, fever, cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis), feeling run down, achy (malaise)  and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots).

Anyone who has these symptoms should contact their health care provider.