For the first time in six years, Salt Lake County health officials are reporting a confirmed measles case in a child that contracted the viral disease traveling abroad.

measlesThis has prompted health officials to urge the public to ensure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Dagmar Vitek, department medical director said, “Being fully vaccinated against measles does more than just protect the person who receives the vaccination. It also protects their family and friends, including children who may be too young to be vaccinated, and helps to limit the spread of disease in the community.”

There is little risk as over 90 percent of children in Utah schools and childcare facilities are adequately vaccinated.

Health officials say they have found more than 200 potential contacts with the child in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

There is no specific treatment for measles and most people recover within 2–3 weeks. However, particularly in malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, ear infection and pneumonia. Measles can be prevented by immunization.