The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services received a report of a confirmed measles case in Lincoln County. Measles is a highly contagious disease spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing.

Image/National Atlas of the United States
Image/National Atlas of the United States

DHHS is working with West Central District Health Department and health care providers to reach Nebraskans at risk for exposure and make sure they receive testing and/or vaccination if appropriate.

In late March, DHHS received a report of a confirmed case of measles in eastern Nebraska. State health officials are currently investigating to determine if the case in Lincoln County is linked to the earlier one. 

Symptoms of measles generally begin within 7-14 days after exposure. It starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. It can also cause severe complications like pneumonia and encephalitis.

If people experience measles-like symptoms, they should see a health care provider. Those most at risk of being infected with the measles are people who have had no doses or only one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine or who have not had the measles.
Measles vaccination is highly effective. Studies show more than 97 percent of people who receive two doses of vaccine are protected.

Measles is not a new disease but it’s something we haven’t seen very often in Nebraska over the last several decades. There were no measles cases in 2016, three in 2015 and one measles case in 2014. Prior to that, the last measles case in a Nebraska resident was in the early 90s.