In a follow-up on the measles situation in Spartanburg County, SC, The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is now reporting a doubling of measles cases in the county, bringing the total to six.

Stethoscope Public domain image/Darnyi Zsóka
Public domain image/Darnyi Zsóka

Individuals who had measles visited local urgent care facilities while they were infectious. If you visited AFC at 1667 East Main Street Duncan, S.C. on Friday, Oct. 26 between 11:35 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., MEDcare Urgent Care at 301 E. Wood St. Spartanburg, S.C. on Saturday, Oct. 27 between 4 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., or the Greer Memorial Hospital Emergency Room at 830 S Buncombe Rd, Greer, S.C. on Saturday, Oct. 27 between 10:08 a.m. and 5 p.m.,  please contact the Spartanburg County Health Department at 864-596-3337.

“I can’t encourage people enough to review their immunization records and make sure they are up-to-date on all vaccinations,” said Dr. Linda Bell, DHEC’s state epidemiologist. “The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated.”

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Spartanburg residents can receive a free MMR vaccine by appointment until Nov. 21 at the Spartanburg County Health Department, located at 151 E. Wood St, Spartanburg, SC 29305.  Call 1-855-472-3432 to make an appointment.

Vaccination is critical in preventing the spread of measles. Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine: the first at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at 4 to 6 years of age. Children 6 to 12 months should get an early dose of MMR vaccine if they are traveling to a country where measles is common. For all ages, it is important to talk to your doctor if you are going to be traveling to another country.

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In addition, health officials reported its first flu-associated death of the season.

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“Sadly, an individual from the Lowcountry region has died from complications due to the flu,” said Dr. Lilian Peake, DHEC director of public health. “This is our first lab-confirmed, influenza-associated death of the season. Unfortunately, we see many deaths, hospitalizations and other serious complications of flu each year in South Carolina.”

Peake said those at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease. But even healthy people can have serious complications from the flu, she said. That is why it is so important for everyone six months and older to get the flu vaccine every year. It is the best way to prevent the flu.

“Flu activity is unpredictable each year, so we need to prepare for several months of the virus circulating in our communities,” Peake said. “The most common strains of the flu virus that circulate can change every year, so it’s important to get the current flu vaccine each year for the best protection. Therefore, we strongly encourage people to get vaccinated now to prevent the flu and its potentially serious consequences. The vaccine takes about two weeks to build up your body’s protection against the virus.”

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness and can be deadly – especially to vulnerable people, including those with certain chronic health conditions. Symptoms can include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness.