The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) said it has confirmed two cases of measles in New Haven County. The two infected individuals are children under 12 months of age who reside in the same household, travelled internationally and acquired their infections outside of the country. DPH is collaborating with local partners to identify contacts and implement appropriate control measures. DPH has confirmed that any exposures occurred within New Haven County between April 11-17.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can spread quickly among unvaccinated people. However, the majority of people exposed to measles are not at-risk of developing the disease since most people have either been vaccinated or have had measles in the past, before vaccination became routine.
“The single best way to protect yourself and your children from measles is to be vaccinated,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. “While most people have had the measles vaccination, it’s important to know your vaccination status and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles so you can get medical attention.”
Symptoms of measles generally begin 7-14 days after a person is exposed to an infected person. A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes (conjunctivitis), and sore throat. Three to five days after the start of these symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears, usually starting on a person’s face at the hairline and spreading downward to the entire body. At the time the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
The rash typically lasts at least a few days and then disappears in the same order. People with measles may be contagious up to 4 days before the rash appears and for four days after the day the rash appears.
Most Connecticut residents have been vaccinated. Individuals who are unsure of their vaccination status are encouraged to check with their physician. People who have had measles in the past or who have been vaccinated against measles are considered immune according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC recommends all children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12- through 15-months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
Adults should have at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Certain groups need two doses of MMR, including: college students, health care workers, international travelers, and persons at high risk for measles complications. Adults born in the U.S. before 1957 are considered immune to measles from past exposures, but in situations where exposure to measles is likely, these adults may benefit from a dose of MMR vaccine to be safer.