UPDATE – AUDIO: Measles In Region

Orange City, Iowa – Measles. It’s a disease that hasn’t been on the radar for several decades in the developed world, thanks to immunizations. However it appears to be making a comeback in some areas.

The Nebraska Department of Public Health has announced that an individual with measles spent time while contagious in several public locations in Blair and Omaha, Nebraska between January 11 and January 15, 2015. The South Dakota Department of Public Health reports 13 confirmed cases of measles in the Mitchell, South Dakota area. Additionally, more than 50 people from six states are reported to have measles as part of an ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.

Community Health Partners in Orange City says that there is reasonable potential for measles to spread to Iowa. Nurse practitioner Robin Van Zandbergen suggests everyone check their immunization records.

Individuals who need vaccine can contact their usual health care or vaccine provider. Van Zandbergen says that if you were born after 1957 and had your two doses of MMR vaccine, even if it was decades ago, you should be safe.

Measles is a very serious, highly contagious viral disease transmitted from one person to another by airborne and droplet spread. It is characterized by high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes – followed by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. This serious illness causes permanent brain damage or death in 1-3 out of every 1,000 patients.

  • More than 95% of people who receive one dose of MMR will develop immunity.
  • The 2nd dose of MMR boosts immunity to 99% in the majority of people.

She says that somewhat counter-intuitively, if you think you have measles or have reason to believe that you’ve been exposed to the measles virus – they do NOT want you to see your doctor in a doctor’s office or clinic.

If you have questions or need additional information contact your local health department.

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