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.
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, photophobia 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.
“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. Successful prevention and control of measles requires high levels of immunity in all communities, sometimes referred to as “herd immunity.”
The measles vaccine is highly effective and very safe. Adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of the vaccine. 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.
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