Statement issued Wednesday:
INDIANAPOLIS – State health officials have confirmed two cases of measles in Hamilton County and have identified an additional two probable measles cases in Boone County. The Indiana State Department of Health is working with local health departments and health care providers to identify additional cases of measles, and to prevent further transmission of the disease.
One of the infected individuals visited the Super Bowl festivities in downtown Indianapolis on Friday, February 3, but health officials report the individual did not go into the NFL Experience at the Indiana Convention Center. Since these events included visitors from other states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been notified. State health officials are also working with health officials in New York and Massachusetts.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is rare in the United States due to high levels of vaccination with the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine; however, unvaccinated visitors from other countries can transmit measles to unvaccinated people in the U.S., or unvaccinated U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected during travel. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent transmission.
More than 95 percent of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to measles, and more than 99 percent will be protected after receiving a second dose. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected. Individuals are encouraged to check with their health care providers to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date.
Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 1 year of age, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten, but children as young as 6 months old can receive the measles vaccine if they are at risk. Individuals born before 1957 are presumed to be immune to measles. If you are unsure about your vaccination history, check with your health care provider, as they have access to vaccination records for many Hoosiers through the Indiana Immunization Registry known as CHIRP.
Measles begins with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes about 7-10 days after exposure. The fever increases and can get as high as 105 degrees. Two to four days later, a rash starts on the face and upper neck. It spreads down the back and trunk, and then extends to the arms and hands, as well as the legs and feet. After about five days, the rash fades the same order in which it appeared.
Measles is highly contagious. When infected persons sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air. Those droplets remain active and contagious on infected surfaces for up to two hours.
What you can do
If you are experiencing the symptoms of measles, stay home and call your doctor. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and alert your doctor if you think you have been in contact with an infected person. If you are ill with measles, remain home and away from others, especially unvaccinated infants, people with diseases affecting their immune systems, and pregnant women.
For more information about measles, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/.
For information on how to contact your local health department, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health at http://www.state.in.us/isdh/24822.htm.