The Tennessee Department of Health is now investigating five cases of measles in Madison, Shelby, Gibson, Hamilton and Hardeman counties. People in additional counties may have been exposed to measles due to some patients travelling while unknowingly being contagious.

391px-RougeoleDP-195x300The measles cases in Tennessee appear to have started with one traveler who was exposed to the illness in another country. The other four cases are individuals who were known to have been in close contact with the first patient. TDH is now investigating close contacts of the five persons in Tennessee known to have the illness. While the focus is currently on five counties, all Tennesseans should be aware of their vulnerability.

Tennessee is one of the seventeen states that have reported measles this year in the United States. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Other symptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.

The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis.